Scientific name: Anthophyta: Dicotyledonae: Caryophyllales: Cactaceae: Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Common Name: Night-blooming Cereus
Date: August 2001
Photographer: E. M. Barrows
Identifier: E. M. Barrows
Collector: not applicable
Keywords: A white flower
The three pages on Epiphyllum oxypetalum in this Website show greenish flower buds on 18 August and white flower buds and flowers on 22 August 2001.
Two flowers of Epiphyllum oxypetalum started opening at about 7 p.m., when it was 76 degrees F.
Flowers started opening quickly at about 9 p.m.
The photos of opening flowers continue until about 10:30 p.m., when the flowers were fully open and very fragrant.
The plant was indoors in a warm bright place until mid-August, when I moved it outdoors.
I thank Dr. Ellen Blank of Milwaukee for sending me cuttings of this species in 1997 which grew into several flowering plants, one which produced these memorable bat-pollinated flowers.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum is native to Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico (Jim Hunter’s Epi Universe 2001).
It is not the true Night-Blooming Cereus which is Hylocereus undatus.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum has cylindrical and flattened stems, and no leaves.
Its flowers are 27 cm long and up to 20 cm wide.
A flower opens in the evening and closes in the morning when it becomes light.
Flowers are very fragrant, with a spicy sweet-sour odor.
You can preserve a flower for about 3 days in a refrigerator if you pick it in peak bloom, place it in a plastic bag with a few drops of water, and keep the bag closed and in the dark.
The flower retains its fragrance for a few days.
Mrs. Spivey of Tampa, Florida, grew Hylocereus undatus in the ground in the 1950s.
She knew that I was a child who was fascinated with all kinds of creatures, and alerted me when her plant flowered.
She taught me how to preserve the flower in a refrigerator.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum flowers indoors in a warm, bright room from July through September in the Washington, D.C., Area.
Please click here to go to Jim Hunter’s Epi Universe and other links to Epiphyllum.