The Queen of the Night Flower is Mysterious and Interesting

by | Aug 24, 2022 | 3 comments

I cannot tell you what an exciting week I have had! I posted this time-lapse video of my Epiphyllum oxypetalum and now it has over 3.3 million views! I’m amazed! But the Queen of the Night flower is mysterious and interesting. 

My Queen of the Night Plants’ Origins

I received my plant from a friend at my church who was retiring and moving out of state. After talking to Carol yesterday I found out they moved in 2014. I didn’t realize I’d had it that long.

It bloomed for me a couple of years ago when I moved it into more light. Carol had it in a west window and it did bloom for her. She called it the “ugly plant” that bloomed and has this framed picture of the flower in her Tennessee home. For more information on how to cultivate this plant see my earlier blog post.

 Queen of the Night or Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Here is the picture Carol has in her home

Comments about my Queen of the Night

The comments on my Instagram account have come from around the world. Some are interesting, so I thought I would share some.

Here is a blog post that has many facts about the plant, though you will need to translate it to English. It claims the plant has health benefits and mystical properties. You can read all that in the post.

Queen of the Night or Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Queen of the Night

Meanwhile, here is some of the information I received from my post. 

Someone told me it is the main note in the Dior perfume Addict. I didn’t find evidence of this, but I have no idea what goes into making a perfume. Does anyone know that for sure?

I was told that snakes like to hang out in these plants so I am glad mine is in the house, not outside. I like snakes but don’t want to be surprised by one in my plant.

Movies with Queen of the Night

Is it the flower from the movie Dennis the Menace? Yes, it is. Poor Mr. Wilson! After watching the clip, you can see it looks nothing like the real flower, but it is meant to be a representation. 

A few people said it reminds them of the alien in the movie Nope, but I haven’t seen it yet. Have you? I remember it being mentioned in the Elvis movie, ‘Blue Hawaii’ my favorite Elvis movie (my mom LOVED Elvis).

While being interviewed for a tour guide position, Mr. Chapman asks him where he could find the night-blooming cereus on the island. (Not a cereus anymore, but epiphyllum.) He said he would take them to the Punahou School.  If you’ve never watched the movie, Mr. Chapman’s office with fish pond and houseplants is amazing!

Queen of the Night in Different Countries 

In Indonesia, the name is Wijaya Kusuma (Wijaya means ‘victory’ and Kusuma ‘flower’) and is a weapon of Lord Krishna. This was also said to mean mystical flower by a commenter.  Lord Krishna was a character in Indonesia’s Wayang kulit, a form of puppet shadow play. In his hand, the flower brings people to life who are in a near-death state. 

Other names included Cradle of Moses, Christ in the Manger, and Dutchman’s Pipe. 

epiphyllum oxypetallum
I can see how the Biblical connotations came about as there is a large center with the stamens and pistil cradled inside.

In Sri Lanka, it is called Kadapul Mal or ‘Flower from Heaven.’ In Japan it is called Gekka Bijn or ‘Beauty Under the Moon’. In India, it is called Brahma kamal known as the creator of the universe and thought to hold this flower

From Germany the comment ‘Traumhaft’ or fantastic in English. From France, the comment Bonne feta means ‘have a good party’ which is why one comment was translated as Happy Birthday. Some people do have parties to watch it open with friends.

All happening at night

Someone’s grandma always called it ‘Flor de baile’ (Spanish) or dancing flower. From Puerto Rico and Venezuela “Dama de la Noche” or Lady of the night. I also got “Galan de Noche or handsome man of the night. Also Cabellero or ‘Knight’ of the night. In Trinidad, it is called Cinderella. Makes sense as things are happening at midnight for her and the flower.

Health Benefits?

It is also said to have health benefits including helping with sore throats, coughs, shortness of breath, wound healing, and curing boils. I don’t recommend using it for anything other than a beautiful houseplant.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Queen of the Night

Poem

This poem was written by Robert Hayden, who was born in Detroit, Michigan.

The Night-Blooming Cereus

            And so for nights
we waited, hoping to see
the heavy bud
            break into flower.

            On its neck-like tube
hooking down from the edge
of the leaf-branch
            nearly to the floor,

            the bud packed
tight with its miracle swayed
stiffly on breaths
            of air, moved

            as though impelled
by stirrings within itself.
It repelled as much
            as it fascinated me

            sometimes–snake,
eyeless bird head,
beak that would gape
            with grotesque life-squawk.

            But you, my dear,
conceded less to the bizarre
than to the imminence
            of bloom. Yet we agreed

            we ought
to celebrate the blossom,
paint ourselves, dance
            in honor of

            archaic mysteries
when it appeared. Meanwhile
we waited, aware
            of rigorous design.

            Backster’s
polygraph, I thought,
would have shown
            (as clearly as it had

            a philodendron’s
fear) tribal sentience
in the cactus, focused
            energy of will.

            The belling of
tropic perfume–that
signaling
            not meant for us;

            the darkness
cloying with summoning
fragrance. We dropped
            trivial tasks

            and marveling
beheld at last the achieved
flower. Its moonlight
            petals were

            still unfold-
ing, the spike fringe of the outer
perianth recessing
            as we watched.

            Lunar presence,
foredoomed, already dying,
it charged the room
            with plangency

            older than human
cries, ancient as prayers
invoking Osiris, Krishna,
            Tezcatlipoca.

            We spoke
in whispers when
we spoke
            at all . . .

Queen of the night flower Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Look at that beautiful flower

All of the comments on my Instagram post were so interesting, and it is obvious this flower has been a large part of many countries’ histories and folklore. The fact that so many people have seen the time-lapse and taken the time to comment is incredible to me.

Do you have one of these plants? Has it bloomed for you? 

Have a great week, plant friends!

signature

More From My Blog

Leave a Comment

3 Comments

  1. Julia Hofley

    When I worked in the greenhouses at GW, (1998-2008),an elderly gentleman came in and said he’d heard we had a night blooming cereus. I took him back to greenhouse 3 to show him the plant, and invited him to come back later that night in order to see it in bloom.
    He did, and he smelled it before he saw it. His eyes were teary as he reminisced about being a WW2 veteran and this scent taking him back to the cliffs in Hawaii where they grew. He said the servicemen would take their girlfriends for midnight picnics along these cliffs to enjoy the intoxicating fragrance when it was in bloom. It was an event he’d never forget. He also said he was a “boiler boy” at GW, feeding wood and coal into the boilers to heat the greenhouses during the Depression when he was a kid. I’ll never forget him and how that fragrance transported him back to another time. What a powerful plant and memory that he shared.

    Reply
  2. Paul

    I have an entire veranda with 3 big plants that at any one time can sprout up to 30 flowers. Always blows me away how fragile the heavy flower is growing out of the edge of the big leaves.
    This summer in Sydney Australia has been particularly bountiful….can’t stop them

    Reply
    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Paul,
      That is so awesome. I wish I could see that and smell it.
      Thanks for your comments.
      Lisa

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest