This morning leaving early for school, I discover that our night blooming cereus is open for business! It looks fake but I assure you that it is real. This cactus has been with us for a long time. There is a popular red fruit that grows first and the birds love to eat it!!....I hear it's also edible for people. It's called the dragonfruit....but the birds usually get to it first:(
The difficulty is taking these pics at such an early time when the sun is rising. But as you can see...the bees are busy.
Usually this time of year the cactus is covered with these amazing flowers. However I only see one right now, but I think more are on the way.
It is a unique variety of cactus in that it grows into other cacti or trees like a vine. It is one of my favorite plants here in the desert southwest....very unique to tropical and subtropical areas. Tucson is considered a subtropical area.
This pic shows how it will climb into the tree and hang. The photo was taken from Jim Conrad's Naturalist Newsletter in 2007. You can find this plant in Tucson all over. Here is an excerpt for those interested in trying this plant out at your own place. And the link is here..
"Night-blooming Cereus" is in quotation marks because several cacti go by that name. Ours is HYLOCEREUS UNDATUS. It's native from Mexico to northern South America, but is naturalized in tropical and subtropical zones worldwide. One reason for the plant's popularity is its foot-long, fragrant, beautiful blossoms -- among the largest in the Cactus Family -- but also it's grown for its edible fruits. You even see the species growing wild in southern Florida, though it's unclear whether those plants are persisting vegetatively, or actually reproducing by seeds.The large, red, fruits, known as strawberry pears or dragon fruits in English, and pitayas in Spanish, are an important crop in some places. In the Yucatan fruits are produced on trellised plants grown in large plantations. You can see a fruit at http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/dragon_fruit.htm.
If you have a "Night-blooming Cereus" that doesn't look like the Hylocereus undatus in my picture, you might compare your plant with the following species, all with huge, white blossoms, and all known as "Night-blooming Cereuses"
Happy gardening....hope you find surprises in your own gardens:)