Cactus blossom Photos

Pink Epi Blossom
Monday, May 27, 2013
Pink Epi Blossom

Ok, before you just dismiss this as just another flower, you should know this is a pretty cool plant. This is an Epiphyllum (or Hylocereus) Hybrid. It's a cactus similar to a christmas cactus, but bigger in every way. The pads are several feet long, and this blossom is about 9 inches across. His ancestors, were pure white and lived in one of the most unlikely places imaginable for a cactus, the canopy of Central American jungles, just like orchids (hence Epiphyllum, an epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant, like an orchid.) If that is not interesting enough, the large white blossoms of their ancestors bloomed in the evening for only one night. Why? Because their pollinators are nocturnal and some have fairly bad eyesight... bats and some large moths. I've always loved these plants. I have more than I really have room for, and each one is an amazing beauty.

Man Eating Jungle Cactus
Friday, July 20, 2012
Man Eating Jungle Cactus

Ok, well maybe not man eating, but if you see him in person you might think it's possible. This is one of my Epis, and although there is not much in this image for size reference the blossom is at least eight inches across. These beauties are more like orchids than cacti. They, or more specifically their non-hybridized ancestors, grow in the South African jungle canopy and in the wild they are polinated by bats. Nature never ceases to amaze!

Epi Blossoms
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Epi Blossoms

I love my plants, as evidenced by the huge number of them on the site. This is an example of one in particular that makes us want a bigger back yard. The flower is about eight inches across. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred Epis. They're not all as big as this one, most are still small starts at this point. But if we want them to grow up to be big strong cacti we are going to need a lot more space! Once they grow up they are probably going to need their own site too... "The Epi of the Day"

Salmon Blossom
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Salmon Blossom

If you are not familiar with Epis, think christmas cactus' big brother. REALLY big! This one was only around six inches across. But some of them can get blossoms up to nine inches. One of ours has a single pad that is over two feet long. They are beautiful and we need a bigger back yard because we have collected so many.

Evening Epi
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Evening Epi

It's a great time of year, time for our Epis to really start blooming. This one lasts a little longer than one evening so I'm pretty sure it is a hybrid of some sort. In the wild they only bloom for a single night. The blossom is about nine inches at the widest. The cup of petals in the middle is about four across. It is quite an amazing sight and makes for some nice night-time photography.

Lady in the Epi
Friday, April 11, 2008
Lady in the Epi

The ladybugs seem to really love our epis. Probably because when they start to bloom (the epis, not the bugs :-D) there's a lot of nectar around the buds. The nectar seems to attract aphids. This time we tried to get the jump on them. We bought a small bag of ladybugs from the hardware store. Of course I was not going to let them go until the camera was ready!

I used a bellows to get close enough for this shot. The whole background of the shot is the same flower that the ladybug is sitting on.

Iridescent Epi Blossom
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Iridescent Epi Blossom

One of our Orchid Cacti, blooming like crazy. It may look like a close macro shot, but it is actually THAT BIG! 'Bout 9" across. I have kind of gone wild with Orchid Cacti. We actually have about a hundred epis now. Most started from small cuttings.

Ackermanii in the Morning Sun
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Ackermanii in the Morning Sun

My wife pointed this blossom out to me this morning. It's a good thing too. The sun was so harsh this afternoon that the top of it got burned! This is on our biggest Orchid Cactus. It has been blooming non-stop for about a month which is pretty impressive since even in the shade each blossom only lasts for a few days.

Salmon Epi
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Salmon Epi

Another of our new Orchid Cacti cuttings is showing off. This one surprised me. The bud did not seem to grow when we first got it. And as a cutting, I did not expect it to. Unlike the Iridescence cutting that started opening the day we brought it home, this guy's bud was very small. Once we got it in the pot however it was a different story. The pad perked up and the bud got bigger and, as you can see, it is very happy now.

Blooming Irridescense
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Blooming Irridescense

Well Saturday has become Epiphyllum day apparently, so why break with tradition. :-D

This is the second blossom on the cutting from last week as it was about to open. The cuttings are all planted now and seem to be doing well. I used a combination of soil, peat moss, bark and coconut fibers.

I'm trying for better drainage than usual because from what we have read they will actually have a better root structure if they have to go looking for water and nourishment. (I usually just plant them in potting soil.)

Since they are a jungle canopy plant, the roots are supposed to be almost as impressive as the pads themselves, up to six feet! Now that's a root! I'd like to see that, but I don't know if I have the nerve to try to coax them into growing that long.

Epiphyllum Irridescense
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Epiphyllum Irridescense

Last Sunday there was a Cactus and Succulent show here in Santa Barbara. We went looking for some new Epiphyllums, and specifically this one. I saw one the day before at a Nursery and had my fingers crossed they would have it at the show. We got this one as a single pad cutting. Of course that one pad is about two feet long and four inches wide, with two blossoms.

To get an idea of the scale, the petals are almost an inch across and about five long. The whole blossom is at least eight inches across.

I hope you like it, because there are more Epi photos to come. We got seven cuttings at the show of six different varieties! I think it is safe to say we have a jungle in our back yard now since I have long since lost count how many we have.

Wild Jungle Cactus
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Wild Jungle Cactus

No it's not a man eating plant. (Well as long as I keep watering it and do what it says anyway.) The flowers on my Orchid Cacti are usually pretty amazing, but this one is particularly wild and they are not even open yet! There is nothing in the photo for size reference but the pink part of the blossom is at least four inches long. It's a good time of year to be a crazy photographer with a collection of wild plants!

Friends
Monday, April 30, 2007
Friends

When the Epiphyllum get going they really go wild. This blossom (the red one) is from the beautiful cactus that got us kicked out of our last apartment. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but I sure was not going to trim the cactus like the land lord wanted!

The lilies lived here when we moved in. They are actually in the ground in what we now call "Cactus Corner". They have had to stretch a little taller to see the sun. But they make an amazing contrast with the cactus and they always seem to be intertwined, I like to think they are friends.

Spring Epiphyllum
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Spring Epiphyllum

It's looking a lot like spring around here. We've spent the last couple of weekends working on our yard. New pots and more dirt all around. This beauty now has an automated dripper. Even though it is a cactus, ours are the happiest when they are sitting in a puddle of water for a couple of hours a day. Of course if you have been treating yours like a desert plant, I would recommend making the transition to hydroponics slowly, so as not to shock it.

Cactus Blossom
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Cactus Blossom

Today we went over to La Sumida Nursery in search of a nice hummingbird feeder. Our current hummingbird feeder is just about done blooming.

Didn't find anything too interesting in a feeder. But the amazing display of plants always makes it a great place to wander with a camera.

Sharp Pear Blossom
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Sharp Pear Blossom

There are pads on this cactus that are completely covered around the edge with blossoms. I have tried to get some nice shots that show the amazing quantity, but the beauty of the individual blossoms and buds keeps drawing me in closer.

Orchid Cactus in the Fern
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Orchid Cactus in the Fern

This plant is getting huge! I love it! It sits high on a stack of clay pots and wooden planters in the corner of our yard. This is one of its "exploration" runners that it has sent off in search of rich soil or water (or in lieu of that possibly small farm animals).

Night Blooming Epiphyllum
Monday, May 29, 2006
Night Blooming Epiphyllum

Another one of our Orchid Cacti started it's show this evening. From what I read this is more what they are like in the wild. This beautiful blossom opened up as the sun was going down. The flower has a great fragrance and it is about twice the size of the flowers on our big day-blooming Epiphyllum. It is at least 6" from tip to tip of the outside petals, with the cup of petals in the middle being over 4".

Most of the wild Epiphyllum blossoms last only one night and fade by morning so I wanted to get a shot of this right away. This is the first time this guy is blooming since we got him, so I don't know exactly what to expect. But, If I can get him in full sunlight I will try to get a nice shot with some reference to the size.

So, blooms at night, Has a blossom the size of a salad plate that is white and fragrant that you could see even if you were flying around half blind. Can you tell what they are trying to attract?

Epiphyllum Blossom
Friday, May 19, 2006
Epiphyllum Blossom

This is one of our blooming Orchid Cacti that I mentioned the other day.

If you have one and want to know what makes them happy, we have one in full sunlight and several in the shade. (this guy is actually hanging from our patio umbrella) The full sun one is HUGE, the others are still happy. One was inside for a while. It is much happier outside, although it grew very long thin pads looking for food while it was inside. Now that it is outside it is popping out all kinds of thick little pads along the lengths of the woody thin pads. Makes for a very interesting plant. One thing they all have in common is they love water. You may think since they are cacti, they like to be dry, but they are definitely jungle plants. More about their history, and one of the reasons I love them so much see this photo of the day.

Cactus Feathers
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Cactus Feathers

Zoe took me for a walk today, as she has been known to do. We took a little different path than we normally do. We went past this beautiful Prickly Pear cactus up the street from us. It is about six feet tall and it is in a pot in front of a house near the street. It is pretty obvious by the health of the plant that the growth of the roots has not been slowed by the bottom of the pot!

I think the coloring on the petals makes them look like feathers.

Cactus Garden
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Cactus Garden

Lotusland is an amazing place. The result of one person's love of plants. Now it is open to the public (by reservation). There are gardens of all kinds, not just it's namesake flowers. Some, like this cactus garden, are new since the garden's benefactor, Ganna Walska, passed away. It has been a wonderful place for a photographer, rich with subjects you would never see in the wild.

Cactus Blossoms
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Cactus Blossoms

This cactus lives in an interesting place. A spot in Lotusland where you can stand in the middle of the street and see an incredible example of parallel evolution. On one side of the street are Cactus, from the deserts of the Americas. On the other, there are plants that most would mistakenly call cacti too. However, if you look a little closer, you will see some subtle differences. For example, thicker thorns rather than thin "needles" and a sticky white sap, which incidentally is at least a little poisonous. These plants are Euphorbia. Their most common relative, one that you would probably recognize, is the Poinsettia. They are from the arid areas of Africa. Although they appear similar to Cacti, they have been separated by a half a world for most of their evolutionary history. An interesting statement on the influence of environment in evolution.

The Orchid Cactus
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
The Orchid Cactus

Another in the "Photos I Grew Myself" series!

This plant is the reason I moved out of my previous home. The vertical bars in the photo are part of the railing on the patio of our old apartment. At the time of this photo this cactus had over sixty blossoms, each about three inches in diameter. Only a small part of the plant is actually in the picture. Our neighbors complemented us all the time on our plants.

Why did I have to move? The management of the property thought that the plants were a little disorderly hanging through the bars like this. So they wanted us to trim this one in particular.

Now we live in a much nicer place where my plants have a lot more room, and I was able to get a Basset Hound!

I have always loved Cacti, and this has got to be one of my favorite types. I have several of them, but this one is by far the happiest. I got it as a small start at the Santa Barbara Farmers' Market.

This Cactus is known as The Orchid Cactus, but the similarities between this beauty and the tropical flowers go much deeper than just the impressive blossoms. These Cacti are indigenous to the jungles of South and Central America where they live in the tree tops. Just like most orchids, they depend upon their host plant for access to the jungle canopy so they can reach sunlight, but they are not parasites. Their nutrition comes from decaying vegetation and other things trapped in the pockets of the trees where they live. This type of plant is called an epiphyte, as opposed to a parasite which draws nutrition directly from it's host. Orchids and Bromeliads are the most recognizable members of this group, but it includes a vast array of plants from ferns to mosses, and lichens.

Update...

This plant is a "day bloomer" hybrid, whose blooms last for several days. Most naturally occurring Epiphyllum species bloom only in the evening creating enormous fragrant white blossoms that only last for one night. I guess you have to do this when your "bee" is as big as a bird, only comes out at night, and is as blind as... well... a bat. Which, incidentally, is exactly what pollinates these plants in the wild, along with the occasional large moth.

Prickly Pear Flower
Monday, January 17, 2005
Prickly Pear Flower

There is a great cactus garden on Figueroa Street in Santa Barbara. I pass there often after eating at one of my favorite restaurants, Los Arroyos.

I took this photo when I introduced my parents to Los Arroyos for the first time. Ironically, they were in town to see my first Photography exhibition, a collection of flower close-ups.