En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Night-flowering plant that blooms every five years

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - September 20, 2008

From: Austerlitz, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Night-flowering plant that blooms every five years
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What plant flowers every five years at night?

ANSWER:

OK, Mr. Smarty Plants gives up—what plant flowers at night but only every five years?

We know of several night-blooming native flowers, for example:

Acanthocereus tetragonus (barbed-wire cactus) is found in Texas and Florida and blooms mid-summer to fall.

Peniocereus greggii (nightblooming cereus) is found in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and flowering spring through summer.

Ipomoea alba (moonflower) is found in Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.

Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. macrocarpa (Missouri primrose) (syn. Oenothera missouriensis) occurs in the central U. S.

Mirabilis multiflora (Colorado four o'clock) occurs in the southwest U. S.

But, so far as Mr. SP knows, each of these bloom every year, given normal environmental conditions.

There are any number of native biennial plants (for instance, the thistles in the Genus Cirsium) that bloom the second year after germinating and there are several native monocarpic plants (they bloom once, then die—see the answer to a previous question) that bloom after the plants are several years old (the century plants—Agave americana and Agave parryi, for instance).  Another native plant that lives a long time before it blooms is Frasera speciosa (monument plant) which may wait for 20 to 40 years before it blooms and dies.  Many of these plants may bloom simultaneously.  This same phenomenon also happens with the non-native bamboo species that may bloom only every 40 to 80 years.

So—I do not know of any native North American plant that is night-blooming and flowers every five years, nor could I find any non-native plant with these features.  If you know of one, or if you have any more information about such a plant, please let us know.

 

More General Botany Questions

Alleotrophic effects of caffeine found in Ilex species
January 24, 2007 - I'm doing research for my biology class on the alleotrophic effects of caffeine. I'm planning to use Ilex vomitoria as the caffeine-producing plant. As the control I want to use another non-c...
view the full question and answer

Checklist of native plants
March 03, 2008 - I have recently submitted my membership. I would like to know if there is a complete list of wildflowers, that one may check off as they are seen, such as the birders check off their lifetime list.
view the full question and answer

Are Prunus minutiflora male and female flowers on different plants?
March 12, 2014 - I have a Prunus minutiflora and have recently learned the male and female flowers are on separate plants. How can I determine if I have a male or female plant?
view the full question and answer

Plants adding calcium to soil
June 08, 2006 - Hi, I am looking for a resource to help determine the functions of native plants. For instance, nitrogen fixing can be found in Indigo, Lead plant, lupines. Are there other plants that add back cal...
view the full question and answer

East Texas Natives and Botanical History
May 05, 2011 - I am looking for flowers &/or flowering shrubs that are native to east Texas, especially that would have been in this area over 100 or more years ago.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center