When I checked my black light around 10 pm I was greeted by sweet fragrance and my flashlight reflected from two small white flowers on one plant and 4 on another.
|Queen of the Night (Peniocereus greggii)|
Last night, I was sure that I smelled more open flowers maybe from across the dirt road, but I couldn't find them in the dark.
So this morning, Randy and the dogs helped me look for more queens. It's not quite like searching for Easter eggs because the stems can be quite tall so the white beacons are visible from the distance as soon as you have formed your search image. Remembering where they bloomed in years before is only helpful to a degree because the cacti tend to take years off between productive seasons, at least here in the wild. I'm sure that the irrigated, shaded specimens at Tohono Chul Park perform reliably year after year.
It was already warm and muggy right after sunrise, so we didn't search all 480 acres of state land. We still came up with a record 19 blooming plants, with anywhere from 1 to 7 flowers. Those were already beginning to wilt but they still attracted some bees. We also saw 5 resting plants, but only because we knew their locations. They are so thin and gray that they are nearly impossible to find.