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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nyctocereus serpentus

Nyctocereus (Peniocereus) serpentus is probably the oldest cactus been in cultivation for nothing but it's flowers. It is known to be grown in before-Columbus time, and has no recognized use value. The plant without blooms is easy to call ugly - the stem is nothing but a spiny stick, usually somewhat deformed and scarred. The large fragrant flowers get cactus aficionado stunned.
It is interesting to watch the flowers of Peniocereus serpentus open. The process starts once it is completely dark, at around 10-11pm here in Bay Area, and it takes about half an hour for the flower to go from slightly inflated blob to the full open marvel.
In the morning flowers wither quickly on a sunny day, or may me still open at 9or 10am if the morning is cloudy.

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