Rare Flowers Bloom for One Night in Arizona Desert, Then Die

By Sarah Le, Epoch Times
June 26, 2018 Updated: June 26, 2018

Legend says that this stunning nocturnal flower, called Queen of the Night, only blooms one night out of the entire year.

The Peniocereus greggii, which is also called the night-blooming cereus or deer-horn cactus, can only be found in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. It normally looks like a dead bush or a bunch of sticks almost all year long.

However, on one incredible summer night, this plant suddenly displays a number of beautiful white blossoms all at once.  

(National Park Service via Storyful)

On the night of June 24, National Park Service staff at the Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona, took a group of hikers out to witness the Queen of the Night in action. 

Lauren Nichols, a bio-technician, live-streamed the beautiful sight on the Saguaro National Park’s Facebook page.

(Credit: National Park Service via Storyful)

While people may only witness such an event once a year, the reality is these plants can flower about three to five times total between late May and early July, according to Mark A. Dimmitt in “A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert.”

Each bunch of flowers can only be seen for a short time during the following morning before they die under the hot sun. A few flowers may also appear the night before or the night after.

(National Park Service via Storyful)

The large white flowers have a strong scent, but some people can’t even smell them.

This plant usually grows underneath other plants, which provide shade and protection. The cactus is thus nearly indistinguishable from these other plants, making it a rare find indeed.

However, the night-blooming cereus can be easily transplanted to your backyard garden by planting the seeds or a cutting a small portion of the stem of another plant, according to the New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council.



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