Sonoran Native Virtual Tour- NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS

Peniocereus greggii     |     Cactaceae     |     night blooming cereus



Desert Ecology:


Thin, scrawny, barely succulent stems, sport nocturnal white flowers which are heavily scented and have long floral tubes. Flower characteristics are well suited for pollination by the hawk moth (Sphingidae) which fly long distances for the nectar. All plants in a population bloom at the same time, usually within the same night, and the flowers die at sunrise. Heavy agricultural pesticide use is devastating hawk moth populations actively protect these plants. Tuberous root of this plant are used to treat diabetes and the Tohono O’odham used through habitat fragmentation fruits develop which are eaten by birds.




Some Gila River Pima communities a tonic created by boiling the roots to treat respiratory ailments, headaches, and to aid in digestion. The flowers, roots, shoots and fruits may also be eaten. The unexpected nocturnal blooms enhance this plants mystique and novelty. As a result, it enticed many campus visitors to explore the cactus collection in the early 1900s.



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