My neighbors have these odd looking plants in front of their house. They are rather large and in even larger pots. Quite gangly, with long thin leaves and odd root like things sticking out here and there.

Recently, they set buds and the neighbors indicated that they are “Orchid Cactus” (though they have absolutely nothing to do with orchids) or, more technically, Epiphyllum. The University of Missouri (my home town, coincidentally) has an interesting Epi page.

The neighbors invited me to take photos when the blooms finally opened and gave me a call when they did. The flowers are spectacular, the buds being nearly a foot long and opening into beautiful mostly white, very fragrant, flowers upwards of 10″ in diameter.

Epiphyllum Lit From Behind

The flowers only last one night. Because they bloom at dusk and into the evening, I grabbed my tripod and took some relatively long exposures, occasionally using a flashlight to backlight a bloom.

It was quite the fun bit of photography.

Epiphyllum w/Moth

While taking one of the exposures, I heard something buzzing about the blooms. It sounded like a hummingbird, which was rather odd given that it was about 10pm.

A bit of frantic flashlight waving later, we discovered that it was a huge moth. Impossible to get a photo of it in flight, but I grabbed several shots of it quite literally climbing all the way into a blossom, thus completely covering itself in pollen before heading off to the next bloom.

Rarely have I met a moth that makes such a racket when it flies around. Hard to tell in the photo, but the body was 3″ to 4″ long.

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One Response to “Epiphyllum”

  1. Matthew Swann says:

    That first photo is one of the best I’ve seen on your blog — the lighting is absolutely gorgeous.

    Nice work!

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