LARNED — Anne Graner isn’t sure where her father bought his Queen of the Night cactus many years ago. Growing up in Oyster Bay, New York, the cactus was a family fixture for many years. This summer, for the first time ever, Graner’s plant bloomed, and finally, she understands why it bears its name.
The mature cactus on any given day appears to have been created in the mind of children’s writer and illustrator Dr. Seuss, with its draping arms growing every which way. But, when it blooms, it’s spectacular, opening after the sun goes down, and seemingly giving off a luminescent light. The center bloom measures over 6-inches in diameter, with the surrounding spiked petals reaching nearly twice that distance.
Graner’s neighbor, Carol Converse, visited when the Queen of the Night bloomed earlier this month.
“It was spectacular,” she said. “I stayed up all night with it, twice, snapping pictures as the flowers developed and then sadly declined.”
Many family members and friends have received cuttings from Graner’s father over the years. Nephews in Florida and a niece in So. Carolina have all witnessed their’s blooming. Graner credits either the Kansas water or climate this summer for the showy blooms she’s enjoyed this year.
According to Gardenclinic.com, Queen of the Night is the common name for Epithelium oxypetalum, and comes from the rainforests of Mexico, blooming in the treetops, as it hitches a ride on tall growing trees, taking its nourishment from fallen leaves, bird droppings and dead insects. It produces a vanilla scented fragrance. It is considered easy to grow from cuttings.