I have had a prickly Selinicereus grandiflorus for some years now. It grows long rats tails which snake everywhere and it gets very difficult to accommodate. It would look good climbing a tree or cascading over rocks but it has to live in my greenhouse annoying all the neighbouring plants. A bit of it has become attached to a nearby Epiphyllum and is now growing from it. I have been tempted to get rid of it because it takes up so much room and is not very attractive to look at. But a while ago I noticed a little furry wart growing on it. It got bigger each day and I realised that at last it was going to bloom. The prickly plant in the picture is the Selinocereus and the flat one behind it is an Epiphyllum.
I have several epiphyllums and they have large, showy flowers but I have never seen any flower as huge and gorgeous as as this before. ‘Queen of the Night’ is a good name for her. The flowers only bloom for one night and so each night I have been going into the greenhouse before I went to bed to make sure I didn’t miss it. This evening I knew it was the big night at last because the petals were showing at the top of the furry bud.
I brought it inside so I wouldn’t miss a moment. I even toyed with the idea of an impromptu party, my best frock and champagne. The bud opened so quickly that within two hours the huge flower was fully open. It is incredibly glamorous and exotic, rather like a giant sea urchin from the side. And the vanilla scent is richly tropical. The plant decks itself out in such gorgeous finery and perfume to attract moths to pollinate it.
It seems rude to go to bed and leave her alone in all her glory. So I have brought her upstairs and now I don’t want to turn the light out because I know that tomorrow she will have collapsed. All this glory for one night only and sadly there have been no moths to pollinate her. I will have to wait until next year for her next performance, and I really will have to arrange a party for her.