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Night Blooming Cereus

Queen of the Night - Deer-Horn Cactus

Peniocereus greggii - Cereus greggii

Night Blooming Cereus

One of the strangest plants of the desert, the night blooming cereus, is a member of the cactus family that resembles nothing more than a dead bush most of the year. It is rarely seen in the wild because of its inconspicuousness. But for one midsummer's night each year, its exqusitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun.

Range

Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southern Arizona, east to western Texas and south to northern Mexico.

Habitat

Desert flats and washes between 3000 and 5000 feet, often in the shade of desert shrubs like creosote.

Flowers

These very fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers, which bloom for only one night in June or July, are up to 4 inches wide and as much as 8 inches long. The waxy, creamy-white, many-petaled flowers are followed by a red-orange, short-spined elliptical fruit about three inches long.

Description

The night-blooming cereus has sparse, angular, lead-gray, twiggy stems about 1/2 inch in diameter. Extremeley small spines grow along the 4 to 6 ribs of these woody stems, which can easily break. It can be erect or sprawling, reaching a length of up to 8 feet, but is usually half that length.

night blooming cereus

The night blooming cereus has a tuberous, turnip-like root usually weighing 5 to 15 pounds (but in some specimens weighing over 100 pounds), which Native Americans used as a food source.

A close Baja relation (Peniocereus. johnstonii), called Saramatraca, Pitayita, or Matraca is locally popular for its edible tuber, which is said to account for the plant's scarcity there.

Night-blooming cereus is popular in rock gardens and can be grown from stem cuttings. After the cut end is is allowed to heal for several weeks, it is planted in dry sand. Like all cactus, night-blooming cereus may be protected in certain desert areas, and permits may be required to collect it.

Once in a Bloom Fragrances has captured the essence of the elusive Queen of the Night cactus flower (night-blooming cereus) to create the inspired Desert Queen Fragrance. Few have ever seen this flower let alone experienced its intoxicating scent, until now! More information

Once in a Bloom Fragrances

-- A.R. Royo

Tohono Chul Park's Annual Bloom Night video

Link to Desert Queen Of The Night Products

 


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Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...

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