It looks like a zipper

by Thom Quayle
(Sacramento, Ca)

It has long drooping arms that look like a zipper. Much to my surprise, I found these large fragrant blooms this morning. I have had this plant for years and it has never bloomed. What is it?

Hi Thom, this is called The Rick Rack plant - if you've ever been around someone who sews you'll recognize this design as something used in sewing projects. It's real name is Cryptocereus anthonyanus, a tongue twister of a name which tells us a couple of things; it's related to several other similar plants such as Cereus, which is the night blooming Queen of the Night, and Epiphyllum, the Orchid Cactus, and also Schlumbergera, the Christmas Cactus.

These are all epiphytes, which originated growing on trees, and they typically have these fragrant, short lived but spectacular flowers. Congratulations; you must have just exactly the right conditions for it to be extremely happy.

Enjoy the flowers while they last, and hopefully you can trigger some blooms again next year.


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