Saturday, May 2, 2009

Late Night Surprise: Cereus peruvianus

When I moved into my apartment there was an old, potted cactus in the bushes out front. I moved it onto the porch for better display and then basically forgot about it for 6 months.


Until last week when I was returning from a late night event and found it sporting several, spectacular, white blooms.


I like the contrast between how ugly and rugged the cactus is and how soft and beautiful the flowers are. It's neat to think that the genes to create those beautiful, fragrant flowers are usually locked up dormant in the dull green body of the plant.


I wonder what kind of cactus it is and what pollinates it in the wild. I.e. why it would have such big, sweet-smelling blooms that only open up in the middle of the night? Moths? Bats? Mice? Does anyone know? **UPDATE: A helpful commenter answered the question, identifying the species as Cereus peruvianus.**



Ian Berger said...

When I saw the title to your blog, I was wondering if you were veering off into an R-rated direction. ;-)

Nice cactus. I used to love the fauna of Florida, except for the bugs. Some were interesting, but the palmetto bugs I could do without.


Kenneth said...

I have the same cactus and i would like to no the name.So if you find out or vise verser.Please let me no and i will do the same.

Kenneth said...

Here is a picture of mine.You can contact me threw contact at my store.
I receive mine threw a friend and his cactus is huge from cutting limb after limb and one night i was visiting it had 1-2 hundred blooms.The cactus must be worth 2-3-thousand beautiful flowers.

Kenneth said...

Hey,James this is the name i found for you and me enjoy hope this helps you out.You can take cuttings very east to grow.Take care.Ken

Cereus peruvianus is a large erect, thorny columnar cactus. It is an unexplored, underutilized cactus, grown only as an ornamental plant, even though it produces attractive, edible fruits. The nocturnal flowers remain open for one night. The fruits are thornless and vary in skin color from violet-red to yellow. The flesh, which is the edible part of the fruit, is white and contains small, edible, and crunchy seeds. Fruits of a number of other columnar cacti, also belonging to the subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Cereeae, are known to be of economic significance for native use in South America.The Cereus peruvianus is a very upright plant and is used mainly as a floor plant.Many people think from the start that since the plant is a cactus or in the cactus family it shouldn't be watered or it only needs a little. In the watering department it wants to be watered well. What this plant wants as well as most cactus is very good drainage, warmth, sun and low humidity. This plant is a perfect candidate for a sunny south, east or west window. The plant can handle low light levels but thrives in bright light.

Link to this plant:

James Douglass said...

Kenneth- Thanks so much for putting a name with the cactus! It made some nice red fruits last year after the blooms faded. If it does that again this year I'll see how they taste. :)

Fahmida Haque said...

I also have one of this kind of cactus, more than 15 years old the plant is! and flower bloomed for just three times in its lifetime. Last night near about 2:00 hour we found a flower bloomed after almost 6 years! Its really beautiful and make mind refreshed!