Imagine that you’re out walking with me in the hot Arizona sunlight. There is a cactus garden just a couple blocks from my apartment. It has attracted my attention lately by coming into bloom.
A few days ago, I took these pictures. I made a special trip to come back and take these pictures because I saw the flower at night but did not have enough ambient light to get a picture of it then.
While I was there I noticed these outstanding buds. Remember this picture. It is the “BEFORE” shot.
Although I have lived in Arizona all my life, I had no idea what kind of cactus it is. I tell you one thing. You don’t find this plant growing wild in the Sonoran Desert. I asked about it and got this reply:
Mari Volmar smile emoticon It’s a night-blooming cactus called Cereus Peruvianus or Apple Cactus.
Night blooming, eh? I decided I wanted to come back and catch a picture of a flower blooming at night. The one above was still blooming by day–early morning anyway.
When you cut or break through the big pulpy limbs you can see that each branch is a kind of 3-D star. This caused me to mentally name it a Star cactus. There were many stars I could have photographed, but I chose this one because it has 8 points, and 8 is the number of Chaos. Those of you who know me also know of my allegiance (or at least lip service) to Chaos.
Last night I went by it again at night and caught this flower in full bloom.
I took this picture just before midnight. This flower, not here three days ago, is a star. The condo unit that created this cactus garden had a floodlamp lighting up their name sign and also providing enough light for me to get this picture.
Night blooming, yeah. There were some others in bloom, but not in as good a position for me to catch them in a photo.
This morning (June 12, 2015) I wanted to see how my night-blooming buddy was doing, so I got out of the house early and went to see him/her/it. Do flowers have sex?
and here it is. This is the exact same flower that was in full bloom 8 hours before. You can see that it has closed itself up. I am amazed that plants have this much mobility.
Remember those big buds I showed you up above in the “BEFORE” picture? This is the “AFTER” picture. You can see that they are not as tightly closed as the flower up above. That means they are already starting to wilt and lose their essence. The life of a flower does not last long.
And is this the famed Peruvian cactus apple itself? It looks more like a plum, but definitely the same kind of fruit like a prickly pear. I think this might be edible. It might even be nutritious. However, I am not going to pick it and try to eat it just to find out.
The stars come in many different forms. A lot of them have 6 limbs. Let me digress into geology for a moment. This is a mixed assortment of roughly sorted river gravel, obviously brought in from somewhere else, since you won’t find that much variety in rock forms in this neighborhood. As you may know, I always keep my eyes open when I see a lot of rocks. I am looking for those with stripes in them–they are special.
Here is another flower hiding from the sunlight.
This one looks like it has an eye, and is watching.
These young ones are curious and happy to see me.
This guy is a real optimist.
It might be my imagination, but I got the impression that the cacti were pleased that I came to see and celebrate them.
So, at the end they gave me a gift–a striped rock (milky quartz with basalt intrusions blasted into the vaculoes). This rock has a face, maybe more than one. Can you see it there in the top left part of the picture?
If you have communed with nature lately, and maybe learned anything from it, why not leave a comment?