Queen of the Night
Queen of the Night is cactus species that originated from the Antilles, Mexico, and Central America region, where it is found growing up trees and rocks. The first species was brought into cultivation in the 1700s; however, finding the exact species is rare in agriculture. Four subspecies are recognized; they include ssp. donkelaarii, ssp. grandiflorus (this one), ssp. hondurensis and spp. lautneri. Spicy Exotics collected its Queen of Night from a grower in California.
The growth of Queen of the Night is green and a half inch in diameter, and growth is usually seven-sided, with spines along each side. Once mature, appearance becomes more cylindrical. When the plant begins to be stressed, the rib line will turn a dark red color giving the appearance of stripes. In Louisiana, our stem segments can get as large as five to six feet, but in the wild, they can get twice as long.
Like many Selenicereus species, this variety is nocturnal blooming, and this is how it gets its common name. Flower buds start with lots of white hairs on them. Soon after, slender floral tubes open up to 8 to 10 inch wide flowers that fill the air with a sweet-smelling vanilla fragrance. The flower is white and yellow with bronze back petals when fully opened. Once mature, this species puts on a show with lots of flowers.
Fruits from the Queen of the Night are small and unique, with the fruit’s burgundy exterior turning red. Hair-like spines also cover the fruit, but they can be brushed off once the fruit is ready for harvest. The white flesh of the fruit is firm with small crunchy seeds. The flavor of the fruit is pleasant, with a tangy aftertaste when picked early.