Putting The Act In Cactus

Two summers ago a rare thing happened that one of the backyard cereus cactus’ night-blooming flowers got pollinated. Rare, because though the flowers attract a variety of bee species, it’s usually only moths like the sphinx moth (or some nectar-feeding bats) that do the actual pollinating.

So, about 18 months ago when one of the flowers bloomed and died and a fruit was left in its place that grew and grew to about the size of a baseball (while avoiding being eaten by any industrious opossums or squirrels or birds) I decided to harvest it and save the seeds for planting. Separating the teeny seeds from the clingy viscous fruit proved trying, but I came away with a couple hundred of them that I kept in a container until I stuck a few of them in some dirt, with equal parts of doubt and hope that they’d ever sprout.

Nothing happened, and eventually I not only gave up on ever seeing baby cacti, I forgot entirely where I’d planted them… until they reminded me a couple weeks ago by sprouting (click for the bigger picture):

They were quite the pleasant surprise.