Friday, June 15, 2007

Heat Exhaustion

When the temperature reached 100 degrees by 11 a.m. today, on its way to a high of 110 degrees, I was sure the unfolding flower on this Golden Torch Cereus (Echinopsis spachiana) wasn’t going to make it. Cacti in the Echinopsis genus are nocturnal bloomers, but this specimen has always opened its flowers during the day, and instead of blooming in early April as expected, it has always bloomed in mid-October. For some reason, it decided to put out this one flower this past week. In seven days, the bud grew to almost eight inches long. Today when it began to open, the heat was just too much and it “died on the vine,” so to speak.

I’ve never figured out why this cactus has such odd habits. I’ve considered that it could possibly be another genus entirely, but it was labeled as an Echinopsis spachiana when I purchased it at a cactus nursery seven years ago, and although it is slower growing than expected, it has all the characteristics of a Golden Torch. Since it is in a pot, I’ve tried a different exposure every couple of years to see if that made a difference in its blooming habits, but it continued with its early fall, daytime blooming pattern.

Although the blooms of the Echinopsis genus are gorgeous, the scraggly outer surface reminds me of some hairy old coot who could use a trim.

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