Peruvian Apple Cactus “Queen of The Night” on Its First Bloom

Newcomer on My Garden

We bought this cactus around August 2018. I didn’t know the species name, whether it will have flower/not, or else. Husband like its simple appearance since the first time he saw it, while I were a little bit unsure because I think another shape/texture-complex cactus might be better. But, we end up buying them both, one that i chose, what husband chose is the other.

Four months passing by on hot season here in Indonesia. Theoritically, it should be rainy season though, but yeah, nature is unpredictable nowadays. One fine morning, it was 24th December 2018, I saw a little bud coming from one stem. I felt surprised, like, what is that? It grew so fast, on 29th December it was already 3 times longer and bigger than first appeared.

The bud still grew longer and bigger for next few weeks, but its shape and color still the same. On 3rd January 2019 morning, different thing appeared. The green bud now having a change in the color, it became reddish and began to take shape of a flower. In the afternoon, something white appeared on the middle of the red.

Identity

I never seen anything like that, honestly, so I felt so excited. It then brought me to internet searching, to identify what kind of cactus that is in my garden. Blindly using keywords/phrase that I think will relate, I was stranded here and there, before finally found out that the plant’s name is Peruvian Apple Cactus. It is a slow growing columnar cactus, on its optimum condition can reach up to 15 metres height. Its body skin is relatively smoother than other cactuses (not so many spines) and the color is mixing of green- blue-gray.

Other name : Hedge Cactus, Night Blooming Cereus, Queen of The Night.
Latin name : Cereus repandus
Origin : South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, etc).
Life condition : Hot-Arid places, but also can bear temperatures until minus 6 degree Celcius

Queen of The Night

Who’d guess, this simple-looked cactus produce spectacular white flower with diameter of 10-20 cm. Here’s more magical part, they only bloom at night (nocturnal flower) and only remain open for one night! When opened, they’ll emit mild sweet fragrant that’ll fill the night. All those majestic features make people named it Queen of The Night.

After reading all of those facts on 3rd January afternoon, I became excited even more! “Definitely will stay awake ’till midnight to prove everything!”, that’s what filling my mind that time. I kept on checking the flowerbud at night frequently. And, …….. around midnight, that all pays up!

Happily sneaking out to garden at midnite, lol.

Fruitful Cactus

And, guess what? It produce fruits too! The fruit looks like apple outside and taste like dragon fruit inside (see why people named it Peruvian Apple?). In its native place, South America, the fruits known locally as Pitaya. The magenta to yellow colored fruit is thornless and will naturally split open when it’s ripe, showing white interior with tiny black seeds spreading all over it. Fruit texture is crunchy and juicy like dragon fruit, with a hint of sour and sweet taste.

The twist is…… pitaya fruit will only being produced if the one night bloomer petals being pollinated on that short of time. If no bees/ butterflies/ moth coming by at that exact midnight, well then… Au revoir! The flower will just die like that. Yes, the grandiose beauty only last for one single night, not seen much if you aren’t aware of it, and leaving nothing in trace. Isn’t that sad?

That night, I kind of hoping some nocturnal animals landing on the flower and do the magic. But, that’s not happening… Yeah, there are no seen fruit growing up after that night. Well, there are no potential plants with flower in my garden, so I think not so many insects feels invited to come. Hmm, maybe I’ll get some flowery plants to fill the garden so the insects being attracted? We’ll see later.

After Midnight

After magical moment around midnight, I’m still curious about what will the flower looks then? Will it fall off, or could be it blooms again another night? Because I’m so into it, early in the morning on the next day, I came out again to check it eventhough my eyes very sleepy. Cold Bandung air at 5 AM won’t stop my curiosity, lol.

At 8.30 in the morning, it was 4th January 2019, the flower petals became even smaller because it were closing even more. At 5 PM the same day, the white petals were hidden so much, it nearly can’t be seen. Also, the typical brown color of withered petals began to appear on the white (can you see it?)

The Next Midnight

How about the next midnight? Is it really dying? The bud still there though, haven’t falling off. Could be some magics happen, and it blooms again? Or is any fruit produced? Well, I have to prove it, so I checked again at 00.00 on 5th January 2019. And, yeah… The Queen not coming this time, pals…

In the afternoon of next day after blooming, at 2 PM, the wrinkles appeared more excessively. The Queen became an od lady in an instance. The stem color became darker, also weaker. It was very mushy, that when I accidentally touch it gently after the photos taken, it fell off to the ground. There was a soft sound follows, and my fingers became sticky of mucus-like fluid from inside of cracked stem. Shocked, I still tried to stitch the crack with black duck tape, lol. But, not long after that, the weather is very windy, the pot felling of from upper ground and the stitching part was breaking. Well, we can’t beat nature. I have to move on.

Well, that’s all of my story on first bloom ever of my Peruvian Apple Cactus. Thank you for stopping by!

Here is .gif version of my Peruvian Apple Cactus, from bud formation to flower blooming, and then dying.

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