Commonly known as the “Queen of the Night”, the Cereus oxypetalum is a species native to Central America which blooms from the evening until the following morning. This plant is protected by CITES.
Epiphyllum, “on the leaves” in Greek, refers to the way the flowers seem to be borne by leaves (which are in fact modified flattened stems). Oxypetalum means “with pointed petals”.
Description and flowering period
This cactus is epiphytic, which is to say it grows on tree branches but is not a parasite to its host and does not harvest the tree’s sap. The plant is leafless: its photosynthetic function is assured by its green flattened stems which can reach 12cm in width and 30cm in length. Its fruits are red berries. Its flowers are white, funnel-shaped, sweetly scented and only open at night – hence its queen of the night nickname – Those characteristics are in fact designed to attract moths which are the plant’s pollinators.
It requires partial shade, a well-drained potting mix, usually containing coarse sand and or pumice. The species is hardy to -7°C.
This species is protected under CITES: the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species.
Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN