Rare cactus blooms

By Bryant Million: Freedom Newspapers

A rare cactus bloomed at a local couples’ home this last week, giving them and their neighbors a chance to see a beautiful sight available only once a year.

Portales gardening enthusiasts Cecil and Mary Clotfelter own a species of cactus commonly called the night-blooming cereus, which blooms its white flowers after sundown for a period of several nights each year.

“It’s the beauty and the rarity of the plant that makes it so interesting,” Mary said. “They (the flowers) are so delicate.”

She said three flowers bloomed Tuesday, 10 blossomed on Wednesday and the last one bloomed Thursday. The flowers begin blooming at about 9 p.m., and take about three or four hours to open up completely, according to the Clotfelters. After several more hours, the flowers die.

The Clotfelters invited friends and neighbors to watch the rare event with them after the plant’s buds began to grow and swell up, a sign they would blossom soon.

Lisa Harrell, one of the attending neighbors on Wednesday, said watching the blooming reminded her of a flower in a children’s pop-up story book.