Monday, June 1, 2009

Queen of the Night

The perfect ending to a truly restful weekend was the gift last night of a flower that blooms only once a year—the Night-Blooming Cereus (Peniocereus greggii). I can’t recall exactly, but I think this is our ninth year enjoying this amazing plant, also known as Queen of the Night.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

The plant appears at first to be an assortment of dry, dead sticks. In spring, the branches slowly get a bit plumper and greener. Then a small bud emerges here and there. If not eaten by aggressive Cactus Wrens, two or three buds will survive. The plant isn’t terribly prolific, so each bud is a tiny treasure to be celebrated.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

We recorded the flower’s blooming process last night. I’ve just made the switch from a Nikon D-40 to the D-80 and was having trouble with the settings for night photography—another learning curve. My husband had his Nikon D-700 on a tripod with whatever gazillion settings it required and triggered to take a photo every 5 minutes. I’m sure his pictures will be amazing and I’ll see those tonight.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

The bud is gradually opening here.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

I ran out early this morning to show you how the plant looks in daylight, hurrying because the flower begins to close and die when the sun comes up.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

The gem is the flower, not only for its beauty but also for its delicious fragrance which attracts an annual visitor other than human fans—the Sphinx moth.

This morning I discovered that Desert Queen Fragrances has managed to capture the flower’s essence. I’ve ordered a bottle of the perfume spray as I’m so enamored of the flower’s exquisite scent.


shenry said...

That is awesome. I wish I could've seen it in person. Your pictures turned out lovely. They give me a good understanding of the blooming process.

Beth said...

How wonderful! Nature is truly amazing and awe inspiring.
Thanks for sharing the photos.

Diane Schuller said...

June I hope you've had a restful weekend. Wow, you are so dedicated to get these photos. I knew about this plant from reading the novel _Cereus Blooms at Night_. The novel is about a dark subject though was a rich read. Interesting what we learn even when reading fiction! Now, thanks to your photos, I got to see one coming into bloom. Congratulations on the new camera too!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I also rememebr thsi flower wehn you blogged about it last year! :-)

It's amazing!

I have a new Nikon D 60 and I'm lost using it --part of the problem is I hate to read instruction

MaddyLane Designs said...

Hi junie, WOW, these flower captures are most enchanting, super beautiful takes. Well shown, wonderful work Junie... as always, hugs said...

Wow! That is gorgeous! I love that the two of you set thing up to take shots all night, what a fantastic project. The flower reminds me of the epi's on my porch. I wonder if they're related?

Storybook Woods said...

Wow, I have never heard of this flower before. How intersting and beautiful. CLarice

Mrs. Staggs said...

Hi June,

I've heard of this flower a couple of times before, but haven't experienced one for real. They are amazing aren't they? A bit other worldly in a way. I'd love to smell one.


It's gorgeous! I'm so glad you shared it with us.

Kim said...

I'd heard about it from a book, too, but not the one Diane mentioned. We used to listen to books-on-tape from the library when we traveled and the kids were little. We all enjoyed the Mrs. Pollifax books (by Dorothy Gilman) and in one of them she's the envy of her garden club when hers blooms :-)

Junie Moon said...

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this post. Your name has been entered into my drawing.