Desert Night-Blooming Cereus
Queen of the Night, Reina del Noche
Arizona Desert Botany HOME
The Desert Night-Blooming Cereus is a slender, inconspicuous cactus that looks like a grayish-green stick, up to 1" thick and several feet long. Old plants have several branches. Since it grows under creosote, mesquite, palo verde, ironwood, and other desert trees that it needs for shelter and support, it is practically invisible for most of the year...except on the one night that the spectacular flowers bloom, or when the plum-sized red fruits ripen. Huge 2-6 inch flowers open at sunset and are pollinated by the White-lined Sphinx Moth, Celerio lineata.
1. Composite photo showing the same flower in three stages of development. SE of Tucson, AZ, June 19, 2016.
2. Pair of flowers and their fruit, same plant as #1. June 14 and October 15, 2015.
OTHER PHOTOS: Tohono Chul Park Tucson, AZ: 6/28/01 * 6/25/02 * 6/06/03 * 5/30/09