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Veronique de Turenne

Night-blooming cereus

night-blooming cereusWe wait for it each summer, ready to skip sleep to see the pale, night flowers in my neighbor's yard. Night-blooming cereus, Queen of the Dark. Most months it's a stick-straight plant, dim-looking and spiny. In August, long buds form. Then suddenly, swiftly, flowers. Huge, the size of softballs. They use every botanical wile imaginable - scent, shape, form, color, motion. I'm not really sure they don't sing.

Shiny, waxy white, a shredded veil of palest pink around the rim, then rows and rows of tight-packed petals, dentata, that lure the gaze - lure the moth really, because that's what it's all about - down the slick bright throat. Stamen thick with pollen, a spidery pistil, and that dizzy, dreamy desert scent. A call to all night fliers to partake, to pollinate.

A few dark hours and that's it. Gone with the dawn.
night-blooming cereus

Next entry: Cure in the Canyons

More by Veronique de Turenne:
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Next story: Cure in the Canyons

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