Sunday, August 5, 2007

Echinopsis candicans

Echinopsis candicans

Echinopsis candicans, known as Argentine Giant, produces fragrant nocturnal flowers that are up to eight inches in diameter. Since I’m not an early riser, I missed this flower when it was at its peak. You can see in the photo that the “bloom is off the rose” so to speak.

The short-lived flowers usually bloom at dusk until dawn, then wilt by mid-morning. However, last year, this cactus flowered in late March and the 12 flowers lasted almost four days. The early flowering in cooler weather must have been the reason for the longer life of all those flowers. Such a flowering habit is rare.

The large, fragrant white night-blooming flowers are the perfect draw for night pollinators such as bats and hawk moths, who locate the flowers by their light color and fragrance. I’ve never seen any bats, but the moths are abundant.

The E. candicans is a clumping cactus that grows to about three feet. Mine is approaching that height, and it will continue to produce new heads until the cactus is six or seven feet wide. It takes full sun and little water.

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
~ Robert Herrick

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.


RUTH said...

What a beautiful flower and such a bonus having the flowers lasting as long as they did. Happy GTS :o)

farmingfriends said...

I don't know whether it's just my computer but the photograph is missing and I would love to see it - sorry. The poem is a nice addition to your post which are always so interesting and informative.
Sara from farmingfriends

No Rain said...

I had a couple of people check, and they can see the photo. I hope you check back--sorry you missed it.

MrBrownThumb said...

Wonderful flower. I wish more people knew of the great flowers produced by C&S plants.

Martin said...

Awesome post. There are so many people where I live now that grow cacti, I know almost nothing about them. Now I know a little bit more. Thanks.

captain lifecruiser said...

Oooohhh, that is just stunning! Soooo beautiful! I just love it!

We saw a cactus blooming in Paraguay 2005, butt it wasn't as beautiful as this one!

It was blooming in the night, so we could take a proper photo of it, butt here it is:

Cactus blooming in Paraguay

Crafty Gardener said...

Gorgeous bloom. It would be worth getting up early to see.

kate said...

I would love to see your echinopsis when it isn't in bloom as well. Three feet is hard to get my mind around.

The flowers look gorgeous ... I think I'd try and stay up so I could enjoy their fragrance.

Ah, I love this poem. I once had to memorise the first two verses and recite them.

farmingfriends said...

Wow what a beauty - this photo was certainly worth the wait. I can see why it is called the argentine giant. If only we had smelly vision then we could experience the fragrance as well.
I'm glad I called back - it was certainly worth a look.
Sara from farmingfriends

Drew said...

That is an amazingly huge flower. It is neat even if it isn't in full bloom. I'd love to see one in full bloom.

Muum said...

this is a great flower, thanks for sharing it. As per your comment on my blog, my daughter has a lovely, common, name, but Edge is her blog nickname because her blog is called mothering on the edge!

Jean said...

Fascinating cactus. I wondered about the jade plant in the previous post --poor little thing looks so unhappy.

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

you always have such informative and interesting posts. Thank you for sharing. BTW, beautiful photo.

Genie said...

That's quite an amazing bloom (even if it is past its peak) and such interesting information about it. Thanks for sharing all of it, as well as the poem!

Catherine said...

Wow!!~~What a gorgeous flower!!
I love cacti..and succulents...your garden looks beautiful...enjoyed checking out your blog...I will be back!!
A beautiful sunset too!!