Heyoka’s Workbench

Selenicereus Grandiflorus

When I was a boy of nine or ten years I loved cacti. My room was full of them. My »gardener grandpa« knew this, of course, and, one day, gave me a little cactus he promised to be very special. It was a quite unimpressive, lank representative of its family. It grew quickly, though, and soon its eel-like branches covered my window almost completely (to my mom’s chagrin who had to skip it on cleaning day). Still, it was not exactly a beautiful cactus. But I had begun to like it nonetheless (or because?). – One day something popped up from one of the slim branches. It was a bud. My grandpa got enthusiastic when he heard about it. And then, the night came when I understood why this cactus is called the Queen of the Night. The bud opened and revealed a huge bloom that filled my room with its fragrance. Next morning, it was gone. The queen had ruled but one night.

(When we moved to the new country, I had to leave this cactus behind. It was just too big. My grandpa kept it. A year or two later, he sent me this photo. The Queen of the Night had bloomed again. Two blossoms this time!)

Photo: “Selenicereus grandiflorus” (cactus called Queen of the Night)