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Remembering my cactus "Queen of the Night"

Started by Johnnie F., Feb 23, 2019, 08:57 AM

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Johnnie F.

Already 13 years ago I wrote this about a cactus:

QuoteOriginally written on April 29, 2006

I got an ugly cactus in my garden. No beauty at all? You might think so! No use at all? You might think so, too!

My wife found the little bugger about 15 years ago near a ricefield of her parents, pitied it, adopted it, put it into a flower pot and brought it home. We were still living in town without being connected to the city water supply, using the salty groundwater there that killed all of the nice plants we kept buying, but not so the little cactus. That kept growing happily though never being near beautiful.

Eight years ago we moved out here, where we have a big garden with lots of beautiful flowers and useful plants. The cactus? It was put in soil and kinda got forgotten. It didn't mind us either, just kept growing, increasing in size though not beauty - just opposite.

Then the first surprise: three years ago, at the age of 12 it started showing flowers. Just a few at first. But the rain always made them fall off soon.

We enjoyed the beauty of the flowers but wondered why we were always seeing either flowers that hadn't opened yet or flowers that were old and had already closed again. As often as we kept looking we never saw an open flower. Then two years ago when I had to go to the Immigration Office in Bangkok and therefore had to get up in the night, the secret got revealed: our cactus had chosen to close its flowers in the daytime and open them at night:

So I ventured to the encyclopaedia to find out. It said, the CEREUS cactus is a very rare species and grows mainly in the southern states of the US like the Arizona Dessert. I wonder how it got here. Here's a pic at sunrise:

And last year we were in for the very big surprise: it even has fruits which taste very sweet and delicious, if the rain doesn't kill the flowers early.

Once more it is full of sprouts now; let's hope that it will have a lot of those delicious fruits and beautiful nightflowers again this year:

I'm seeing my cactus with completely different eyes now:

Suay lae arroy maak!

Quite often I think of my cactus now, how I could have saved that monster from the big red ants, that killed it. I would like to grow one again, if I knew where to get it.