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!
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 night.
The 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.