Welty on Wednesday: Night-Blooming Cereus

A friend and I were the beneficiaries of  baby night blooming cereus plants about a year ago.

My friend was fortunate to actually have a bloom.

 I went over to see the new bud…

Night blooming cereus

The amazing performance culminated a few days later, sure enough, about ten o’clock that night…

Night blooming cereus

Photo by Betty Allin


The short lived bloom was gone by the next morning…

Night blooming cereus

Photo by Betty Allin


“In the 1930s, Miss Welty and several friends began gathering for dinner and games.Among the friends were Frank Lyle and Hubert Creekmore Nash Burger and Lehman Engel.

“In 1934, the friends began calling themselves the Night-Blooming Cereus Club,after the custom of visiting people who announced in the newspaper

that their night-blooming cereus was expected to bloom that evening. The opening of this eerie, fragrant flower, a member of the cactus family,

is indeed a spectacle akin to performance,as transfixing and exotic as any dance by Martha Graham.

As Creekmore described it ‘We’d sit, mesmerized, as the bud trembledand shuddered while it unwound its long slender white petals

and spread them before our incredulous eyes as a delicately incised saucer full of froth.’

The group’s take on this and other improvised entertainments was firmly tongue-in-cheek,

as their club motto attested:  Don’t take it too cereus. Life’s too mysterious.”

Above quote taken from One Writer’s Garden.

Enjoy this time lapse of a night-blooming cereus.



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  1. Deborah Feldman says:

    Just found your blog & my Night Blooming Cereus is quite large & old now. Can’t wait to see it. Hope I’m home. There have been times when I returned to find the shriveled up remains of the blooms on the floor of the porch.

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      Oh no – if I miss mine (if it ever blooms!) I will be so sad! Hope you are having a great summer.

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