Home > Pre-Japan > The Nightblooming Cereus, the Ultimate “One Pump Chump”

The Nightblooming Cereus, the Ultimate “One Pump Chump”

“The One Pump Chump.” We’ve all been called that once or twice in our lives.

Right? RIGHT?!

Well friends, I believe you have nothing to worry about, because I have single handedly found a flower that will make even the most unfortunate of us feel good about ourselves. I am referring to a relative of the cactus called the “Selenicereus Grandiflorus”, otherwise known as the “Nightblooming Cereus”, or “Queen of the Night”. Most of the year it’s a pretty ugly plant. It has few leaves, and just long, green stalks. However, once a year, when the weather is right, or when the sun strikes the plant in exactly the right way, or however this plant determines it, it begins to grow a flower. No, not flowers, as in multiple, just one. And from this flower emerges, eventually, a gigantic, incredibly odorous flower.

Umm...yeah. Pretty, aint it?

Umm...yeah. Pretty, aint it?

My grandparents happen to own a plant of this species, and fortunately I was present when it decided to grace us with a flower. We saw the signs a few days before the actual blooming, and were getting quite excited. Finally, the special night approached. You heard me right, the special night. This particular flower, as the name suggests, waits until every reasonable person has gone to bed, before actually showing itself. Perhaps it is one of the few flowers known to man embarrassed by its brethren voyeurism. When the sun goes down around 8:30 PM, the show begins. Painstakingly slowly, the leaves begin to unfurl. The show does not end until midnight, the witching hour. What a flower it was. It was pitch black. The entire flower was black. Oh wait…no sorry, that’s because it’s actually pitch dark outside. Here let me turn on the light. Ahhhh. It’s odor was incredibly sweet, and it was one of the biggest flowers I have seen. Pure white in color, with three layers of different petals, making it quite a beautiful sight to behold. Apparently the flower attracts a certain kind of moth which it uses to spread its seeds.

In the morning, as the first rays of the sun grace the Earth with its presence, it promptly dies. Its lifeless body hangs on to its stalk, entirely spent. An entire year of anticipation and work over in the blink of an eye, during pitch dark blackness. It really is fascinating how Mother Nature works some times. Events like these reinforce my own spiritual beliefs, those being that there is no God. If there were, why the HECK would He make something as silly as this?! I kid, of course. The flower was really beautiful, and it was worth staying up for, especially since it’s such a rare sight. I managed to take a few pictures as it bloomed, and I hope you enjoy them. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, it was a little dark so the photos don’t really do the flower justice, nor can you smell its scent, which really made it worth while.

In hindsight, I should have used my flash more. Unfortunately, on the tiny screen of my camera, the pictures with flash looked very shiny. They turned out a lot better up close though. You live and you learn I suppose.


Categories: Pre-Japan
  1. Su
    June 30, 2009 at 4:28 am

    I love flowers and the way you show them! gardening is one of my biggest passions

    • Dash
      June 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks! It’s such a rare occasion I figured I should at least document it 🙂

  2. July 1, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Quite nice! What kind of camera were you using?

    • Dash
      July 1, 2009 at 6:53 pm

      umm…one hardly worth mentioning. It’s a Canon PowerShot S410 “Digital Elph”. At least that’s what the camera says. It’s like four years old, got it for Christmas one year 🙂

  3. Elise
    July 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    pretty sure it’s not the type of camera you use but also the person that runs it. isn’t there something like this in a movie? perhaps with walter mathieu? or am i confused with cocoons?!

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