Saturday, June 03, 2006

Heirloom Plant

My grandmother Hodge kept a plant on her porch for years that she called an orchid cactus. I remember wondering why she kept the ugly thing. It seemed to have no redeeming value. Nevertheless, when she died we took the thing in and gave it a home. It would be years before I knew why it was worth the trouble.

I believe we had the plant 5-7 years before we caught on. A neighbor was the first to point out that we had a unique plant. I had my doubts, unless she meant it was unique for its utter lack of beauty. Then one morning I found out its secret. Since then, I've witnessed many of its random acts of floral beauty. Turns out that it only blooms at night and the blooms last for just a few hours. You have to watch for the buds forming and check first thing in the morning to see if today is the day. Today was.

I've since discovered that it is officially an Epiphyllum Strictum. Some call it, incorrectly, a night blooming cereus. It is not even remotely an orchid, but it is a member of the cactus family.

Would you believe there is a whole segment of the Internet devoted to devotees of this particular plant species?

I have many heirlooms tucked away in drawers and closets that are very satisfying to own but don't do anything but lie there. This heirloom rocks.


1 comment:

David said...

I'll be damned. I've seen that plant around for years (I mean that plant) and wondered what the heck you were keeping it for. An amazing bloom.