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Cactus Incognito

cactus

Hello Neighbor!

For three years, there’s been a fifteen foot tall cactus in our neighbor’s yard, six feet away from our back door, but Anita and I never noticed until it bloomed. To be fair, most of the plant is behind a garden shed and fence, and we have to stand in rather contorted positions to view or photograph it, but I would have expected us to notice it before now. Though, this is a phenomenon I’ve observed before; some plants just are low-profile until they bloom. Hellebores, for instance, usually manage to stay below the radar and avoid detection until they finally bloom. I didn’t expect the same thing to happen with a fifteen foot tall cactus.

the view through our fence

the view through our fence

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7 Responses to “Cactus Incognito”

  1. July 16th, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Brad B says:

    That flower is unreal. Wonder if anything will pollinate it here in the Bay Area.

  2. July 16th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    ryan says:

    Bees will pollinate it. It needs cross-pollination to set fruit, but I have seen them around town with fruit. I’m not sure if we have the right moths.

  3. July 16th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    chuck b. says:

    Cacti produce the most unlikely flowers. They just aren’t congruent–such a delicate, sensuous flower on that prickly, cast iron column.

  4. July 17th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Pomona Belvedere says:

    Chuck b., you’re right! And I wish I were more up on cacti so I could help i.d. this one, but I haven’t a clue. Love both photos and interested to hear about pollinators. Apparently it pays to spy on your neighbors…in a genteel way, of course.

  5. July 17th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    ryan says:

    Sorry if I was negligent in the ID. I think it’s a Cereus peruvianus/Cereus uruguayanus, which have a lot of common names and are often grown as a houseplant.
    And I agree that there is a startling, incongruous quality about their flowers.

  6. July 17th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    keewee says:

    You couldn’t help but notice that lovely bloom.

  7. July 18th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    michelle d. says:

    it’s a BEAUTY !