Thursday, December 13, 2012

Queen of the Night

Epiphyllum oxypetalum, Night-blooming Cereus, Queen of the Night

I noticed this flowering vine in the yard of my friend's neighbor a couple of weeks ago.   It was already dark but there was a street lamp just outside the garden.  My friend was laughing at me while I was clinging at the wrought iron fence to get a better shot.  I have forgotten this flower until my brother saw the images while browsing through the same folder for photos of his youngest son. Turned out, my sis-in-law cultivated this flowering vine for years but it only bloomed once and the flower wilted by morning.  I quickly googled and found the name on line!

Night-blooming cereus is the common name referring to a large number of flowering Cereus cacti that bloom at night. The flowers are short lived, and some of these species bloom only once a year, for a single nightThe night-blooming cereus is also referred to as princess of the night, Honolulu queen and queen of the night.

This amazing flowering vine is native to Central America and Northern South America, the flower blooms rarely and only at night---mysteriously, the flower wilts before dawn.  The Chinese chengyu (four character idiom) 曇花一現 (tan hua yi xian) uses this flower (tan-hua; 曇花) to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory, like a "flash in a pan", since the flower can take a year to bloom and only blooms over a single night. Therefore someone described as "曇花一現" is generally understood to be a person who shows off or unexpectedly gains some achievement and is thought to be an exception or only lucky. The flower also has a rich history in Japan, where it is known as the 月下美人 (Gekka Bijin) or "Beauty under the Moon".  Wiki source


Regardless of genus or species, night-blooming cereus flowers are almost always white, often large, and frequently fragrant.  The plants that bear such flowers can be tall, columnar, and sometimes extremely large and tree-like, but more frequently are thin-stemmed climbers. While some night-blooming cereus are grown indoors in homes or greenhouses in colder climates, most of these plants are too large or ungainly for this treatment, and are only found outdoors in tropical areas.

 Linking to Floral Friday Fotos

13 comments:

Gunilla Bäck said...

Gorgeous! I think my mom had one too, but hers never had flowers.

Geli said...

Luna wow, I've seen this flower bloom never read much about it, seen pictures, but never seen in the original, shame shame ...

Jama said...

one of the neighbour has this plant, I only saw the flower bud, but by the time I remember to photograph the flowers a few days later, the bloom have already dry!

Ingmarie We said...

Beuatiful! And lovely photos too.

NatureFootstep said...

it is so beautiful. I guess the flower is open only a few hours. I have a similar one with the same name. Or it might be the Princess. I don´t know, it is a bit confusing. But it was many years now since it had a flower.

Ann said...

Thank you for the Chinese info. We waited at night for it to bloom.

Modern Mom said...

This is so pretty.

Summer Pink Daisy

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Very similar flower blooms here in Florida in the spring. It is called 'Night-blooming cactus'. Our neighbor has the plant. I'm not sure if it is native here or not, but it is beautiful. Lovely picture.

SandyCarlson said...

It's a beautiful flower.

Marie said...

It's just gorgeous!

Andrea said...

Hi Luna, you mean you didn't see my serial photos of EO before? And i think this variety and mine is a bit different, as the sepals in ours are not totally white, also the leaves are a bit different. I actually posted it in sulit.com because someone told me to! haha!

Míriam Luiza said...

Linda demais!

DeniseinVA said...

Wow, such an exquisite bloom, absolutely gorgeous!