You Can’t Be Cereus!

One of my most-viewed YouTube videos is a timelapse I made some 3.5 years ago of a nocturnally blooming cactus flower over the fence in my neighbor’s backyard. I made the mistake of titling the video “San Pedro Cactus Bloom” and paid the price for that in the ensuing comments with various way-too-serious cactologists who couldn’t be troubled to admire the footage and instead just pointed out what a botanical know-nothing I was.

Eventually I changed the title to “(This Is Not A) San Pedro Cactus Bloom” as something of a sarcastic appeasement to those commenters insistant it wasn’t a San Pedro cactus and adamant that a title modification was in order.

Anyway, this past summer/fall, the neighbor’s cactus — a member of the Cereus tribe — put out a fine bouquet of night-blooming flowers, but owing to the fact that the flowers bloom for only one evening it is very rare is when pollenation occurs and fruit results.

But this year there were two. The first one I picked too soon and it wasn’t very well developed, so the second one I left to ripen (hoping no opportunistic critters would come along and eat it). Well, I finally picked it yesterday, and I’m now the proud caretaker of a mess of maybe a couple hundred cactus seeds… each one about the size of an obese period, that I’ll be looking forward to planting and — fingers crossed — watching grow to become future night-bloomers.

It never ceases to amaze how something so big can start off so small.