The Sonoran Desert is filled with secret delights. One of the best is the Night Blooming Cereus. The cereus can be found in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southern Arizona, east to western Texas and south to northern Mexico.
The vertical “stick”, seen in the middle of this photo, is the only Night Blooming Cereus I have found on our property. It was interesting to discover the night blooming cereus has a tuberous, turnip-like root usually weighing 5 to 15 pounds and in some specimens it can weigh over 100 pounds. Native Americans used the root as a food source. You wonder how the indigenous people first discovered the plants that would aid in their survival.
These very fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers, which bloom for only one night in June or July, can be up 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. It’s a fleeting moment in time, but worth the effort. They are amazingly beautiful and are called the Queen of the Night for a good reason.
Each year, for one evening only, Tohono Chul opens its doors to visitors from around the world to experience the mystery, majesty and beauty of the Queen of the Night, the night-blooming cereus Peniocereus greggii. Because the mass blooming of the Queen of the Night is hard to predict, sometimes there are as little as 12 hours between the announcement of Bloom Night and Bloom Night itself, bloom Watch email updates are the only way to be sure you won’t miss this event! This link will take you to the bloom watch email sign up https://tohonochulpark.org/cereus.
In just a few short weeks the annual watch will begin. One of the biggest mysteries, as yet unsolved, is how do the cactus know to bloom on the same night? Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?