Queen or Angel?

I found a surprise while watering my potted plants yesterday.

I had not noticed the bud on my Epiphyllum oxypetalum before.

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I usually notice every change in my garden.

Right now I am too busy. My precious father is dying.

I go to the hospital alone to take the first shift. Only one visitor at a time due to Covid.

So I am very blessed to happen to notice the bud ready to bloom.

I set my alarm clock to wake me near midnight.

I slipped outside with my flashlight to sit alone with my flower.

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This was its first bloom after many years of growth.

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I was amazed at its complexity.

Its pistil had a shaggy end.

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Its anthers glowed in the light.

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It was the whitest white I have ever seen.

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I sat there in silence thinking that if an angel were a flower, it would look just like this.

It would come to me in the still, cool darkness and give my heart a moment of peace.

This flower may be named “Queen of The Night”, but it was my angel.

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Flower

The Plant Knows

Plants know things. I know this because I study them.

I want to know What a Plant Knows.

I have read a book by that name written by Daniel Chamovitz.

I also took the Coursera class from Tel Aviv University by that name.

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Plants know where they are and the seasons and what they are close to.

I am trying to learn from them. They are teaching me.

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This Epiphyllum Orchid cactus never bloomed.

I researched its native habitat.

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In Brazil it hangs from the trees.

So I hung it from a tree.

See.

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It knows.

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Now it blooms every June.

Humans don’t know everything, but we can learn things

even from plants.

Especially from plants… and animals.

They are the ancients.

Flower

 

When is a Leaf not a Leaf?

There really are many answers to this in the world of botany.

In this case I am referring to the puzzling plant, Epiphyllum oxypetalum.

This leggy plant sprawls as it grows. It is in a heavy pot for balance not for root room.

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Mine has not bloomed yet, but I am enjoying its peculiar habit of growth.

When is a leaf NOT a leaf?  When it’s a stem.

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The orchid cactus has flattened stems that look like leaves with thick veins.

When new leaves pop out from the ends of these veins,

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you realize that the leaf was a stem.

Epiphytes that live in trees have different rules than ground plants.

A stem has to serve as a leaf and a stem.

Another lesson in life from a plant.

Thanks nature.

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Hang these Weirdos

Epiphytes get their name from living on other plants.

This does not mean that they are parasites, just that they share space with larger plants for support.

They have long succulent leaves that are heavy.  These have strange shapes that may vary on the same plant.

I have several Epiphyllums.

Since they normally live in the semishade of trees in Mexico,

I hang them in trees so that they will feel at home.

Both of these Epiphyllums were obtained as pieces, not whole plants.

I asked to buy cuttings from two of my favorite garden centers.

No point in my buying a giant plant when a piece will do.

I know that this orchid cactus will bloom red.  It has not as of yet, but its parent plant had red blooms.

These Epiphyllums bloom during fall or winter, so I hope to see a bloom soon.

This fishbone/zigzag cactus should have white or yellow blooms.

Its blooms are nocturnal.  I will be watching both these plants in the coming weeks for signs of buds.

If you get an Epiphyllum, you had best hang it up.

They love to swing in the breeze from the trees.

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My First Love was Leaves

I have not always been the FLOWER.

My first love was leaves.   I collected leaves.  Pressed leaves into pictures.  Made stationery with embedded leaves…

In my home there are leaves on the rugs and floor clothes and walls and sofas…

So today I want to share an unusual leaf.

I have been watching this plant grow for months.

It was a gift from ” My Friend the Fairy.”  (See post. She is adorable)

The plant is a “Queen of the Night” , “Night Blooming Cereus” or Epiphyllum oxypetallum.

Its nickname is also Gooseneck cactus.   Now I know why.  One leaf decided it needed to be longer.  So it added another lobe on the tip.

This stem and leaf first looked like a rising cobra’s head several months ago.

It elongated and has now sprouted side leaflets.

The leaves are very thick and the venation is visually absent,

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except for the midrib seen underneath.

The midrib sends vein offshoots to each leaflet.

The underside of the main leaf has rootlets which is typical of an epiphyte.

Lastly, I would like to include a photo that those who know me will appreciate.

Photo shoot carnage.  Positioning leaves lead to a spill.  Another mess.  I wonder what punishment will be bestowed upon me by my facedown fairy godmother. She’s mean.

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The Queen only blooms once every couple of years, so I will enjoy its leaves in the meantime.

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