Noilly Prattle: Cactus Flower

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cactus Flower

the ugly saguaro cactus
just before its 16 blossoms
     You have to get up pretty early to see our cactus in full bloom because it only lasts for a day. It begins to open in the evening, is at it most beautiful at dawn and is wilted by the following evening.

      We have had this remarkably ugly saguaro-type cactus plant for I don't know how many years. When we bought it for around 50(about 50 cents) it was roughly the size and shape of a golf ball. It has proven to be a remarkably hardy plant at first budding prolifically with tiny perfect round replicas of the parent plant. There are so many at times that you have to remove them with a fork since the spines are painfully sharp and if you didn't remove them the plant would start to look warty.

single bloom with yellow
stamen and pistils
      Leaving an occasional bud gave the original plant the look of a short squat saguaro cactus with three arms. After a few years the cactus started to produce multi-petaled white flowers with yellow stamen and pistils in the center. One blossom alone is beautiful enough, but one year a few years ago the plant produced 16 flowers on the central barrel at one time. We were awestruck and I took a photo of it.

16 perfect blossoms

dusk - beginning to open
full bloom at night
      This year the cactus has already produced four rounds of blossoms. We missed the first one since we were away on a trip to Nara and Ise. It had about a dozen blossoms that were already wilted when we returned home. Last night the plant bloomed again with 15 blossoms and I was ready with my camera and went slightly nuts.

dawn - in full bloom

15 blossoms - full bloom

15 blossoms - full bloom

up close and beautiful

      The blooms are closing up now (a little after noon) and the stems are wilting, but I count at least 27 new flower stems beginning to shoot up—and even a new bud.

an ending. . . and a beginning

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