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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - April 04, 2007

From: Mountain View, CA
Region: California
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Identification of night blooming Cereus
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My Grandmother used to have a plant she called Nightly Series, that bloomed only at night. Can you help me find out where to buy one?

ANSWER:

The plant that produces a spectacular blossom only in the evening which fades by morning is the Night Blooming Cereus (pretty close to Nightly Series). Unfortuntely, there is more than one plant with that apellation. Two of these possibilities are members of the Cactus family (Cactaceae).

Peniocereus Peniocereus greggii (nightblooming cereus) is native to southern Arizona, New Mexico and southwest Texas (see photo). It is listed as an endangered plant in New Mexico, and as salvage restricted (collect only with a permit) in Arizona. It is considered a vanishing plant throughout its range due to activities of collectors. Click here for more details.

Since you didn't mention cactus in your question, your Grandmother may have been growing a very "non-cactus" looking plant Epiphyllum oxypetalum. This plant is native to Central America and grows as an epiphyte in the jungle (see photo). It has many enthusiasts among plant hobbyists. The San Diego Epiphyllum Society's web page can give you more information about obtaining and caring for your own nightblooming cereus.

 

 

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