Inner Beauty in North Carolina


Ugly cactus plants produce an elegantly breathtaking flower.

I take exception to that; not the breathtaking flower part, but the ugly cactus part. Hah!

The night-blooming cereus will bloom several times a summer. Journal photo by Bruce Chapman

Some of the ugliest plants that I cultivate have the most beautiful flowers.

These are cactus in a group known as Selenicereus. They are long and ropy looking; their tangled, vine-like growth is lined with small spines that aid in clinging and climbing their way into tree canopies and over cliff faces.

In addition, there are often stringy aerial roots that add to the general appearance of being frayed rope with spines. They are not the sort of thing you’d bring home to your mother.

Well, sure, you wouldn’t take it home to your mother, but that doesn’t mean I would take it home to my mother, which I wouldn’t, but that’s because she’d kill it.


    
    
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