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Rare moonflower cactus blooms again at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

  • April 28, 2023

A rare cactus has flowered again, two years after half a million people watched it bloom during lockdown.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden’s Moonflower bud, also known as Strophocactus wittii, first flowered in February 2021.

That was the first ever flowering of the plant in the UK and it captured the attention of over 500,000 people during lockdown via a YouTube livestream.

After much anticipation, the moonflower bloomed again on Saturday afternoon.

It spirals around tree trunks and only stays in bloom for twelve hours, so can only be seen in bloom on the Botanic Garden livestream until around 4am on Sunday.

The bud usually starts to flower towards sunset, but this one started several hours earlier.

On Saturday morning the Botanic Garden said the flower was getting ready to bloom as they tweeted: “It looks as though things might be happening with our Moonflower (Strophocactus wittii) bud!

“It’s now 29.5cm, the bud has swollen & the tips are starting to separate out.”

The flower is usually found in the Amazon rainforest.

The plant’s name, Selenicereus wittii, is derived from the Greek (Selene), from the Greek moon goddess, and cereus, meaning “candle” in Latin, referring to the nocturnal flowers.

The species name wittii comes from the man who discovered it – Karl Moritz Schumann (1851 – 1904) was born in Germany and worked as a botanist at the Botanical Museum of Berlin.


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Corpse flower Little Stinker blooms at Denver Botanic Gardens

  • June 21, 2022

Little Stinker was already closing up its bloom by Friday afternoon, much sooner than expected.

DENVER — Denver Botanic Gardens had a stinky visitor Friday, but it didn’t stay for long.

One of the Garden’s two corpse flowers, Little Stinker, started blooming for the first time since 2016. The flower was expected to bloom for 24 to 36 hours, but it had already started to close up and lose its stink by Friday afternoon.

The plant will remain on display in the Tropical Conservatory, off the Boettcher Memorial Center and Marnie’s Pavilion, throughout the weekend, the Botanic Gardens said.

Little Stinker is the little sibling of Stinky, which drew huge crowds of visitors who wanted to catch a whiff when it bloomed in 2018.

> The video above shows the crowd that came to see Stinky in 2018.

Anyone who wants to check out Little Stinker needs to purchase advance, time-entry tickets. The Botanic Gardens, located at 1007 York St., will not extend its hours.

This is the second bloom for Little Stinker and the fourth corpse flower to bloom at the Botanic Gardens since Stinky first bloomed in 2015.

Native to the rainforests of western Sumatra, corpse flowers have a foul odor similar to decaying flesh. The aroma is most potent from late evening to the middle of the night, before tapering off in the morning.

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The smell attracts flies and carrion beetles for pollination.

A corpse flower‘s bloom is a rare occurrence. The plant’s first bloom occurs after eight to 20 years of vegetative growth. The second bloom can happen every three to five years.

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