Queen of the Night: Now pay attention, this is cereus

Queen of the Night: Now pay attention, this is cereus

■BY MARCY SHORTUSE

They came out in the night like beautiful alien stars, all along the Florida coast. People from Indian River, Melbourne and Gulfport to Naples were starting to whisper fervently sometime on Monday.

“They’re coming,” they said.

The night-blooming cereus, a vining flower that blooms only once a year, all came out Wednesday night … and what a show they presented. Some say it was one of the most prolific years of blossoms they have ever seen. While there will be other blooms throughout the summer, the night of Tuesday, June 12 seemed to be especially prime throughout the state.

Also known as “The Queen of the Night,” the cereus flower comes from a vining cactus. It is a perennial epiphyte, and their favorite host seems to be a cabbage palm. Prior to blooming their stems are home to what appear to be sad little dragonheads, looking otherworldly and bedraggled. Their fragrance is very potent, according to those who are up into the night to witness the annual spectacle.

By dawn the bloom is usually done.

Shown here are some of the enchanting sights that were found on Tuesday night by residents MJ Sanger, Susan Bowers and Nat Italiano.