I am always amazed by plants. How can such an unattractive (I hesitate to say ugly) plant have such amazingly beautiful flowers? These gorgeous flowers stopped me dead in my tracks in the desert room at the Belle Isle Conservatory yesterday. Everyone there was oohing and ahhing, as well. Who wouldn’t be? What is this plant? It is an Epiphyllum, commonly called the orchid cactus. Epi for short.

A few interesting facts: Epiphyllum means ‘upon the leaf’ as the flowers appear to grow from the leaves directly. Actually, they aren’t even leaves, but flattened stems. The common name, orchid cactus, is slightly misleading as they aren’t related to orchids, but are cacti. They are rain forest cacti from Mexico and Central and South America, related to the Thanksgiving cactus. Both plants grow epiphytically in trees, needing no soil at all. I follow a Facebook group that is dedicated to these plants and this pink flower is just one of many, many beautiful colors I see on there all the time. I have one of these plants, but have yet to see it bloom. It is definitely time to move it or change its growing conditions so I can see these amazing flowers at home. I’ll let you know when I finally get flowers, of course.

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