The Beauty and Scent of Cactus
by: Celebrity Recipes

The origin of the cactus family is shrouded in mystery. Botanists theorize that the first cacti evolved from roses. They base this conclusion largely on an outstanding feature of today’s cacti---their lavish showy flowers, which closely resemble roses in shape and structure. 

Whatever origin it has and for those who see them for the first time. Cactus blossoms are incredibly beautiful. It is unbelievable that such a delicate, ethereal flower should spring from such a thorny plant. Many of us who live far from the dessert can enjoy the beauty of cacti that adapt readily to pot culture. An example is the tropical Queen of the Night, a fast growing cactus that will develop, in time, to a large plant even in a pot. The plant is easy to grow if kept in partial shade and moderately moist. The delicate white flowers are nocturnal, and are the largest and the most beautiful flowers of all cacti. Their blooms begin to open at sunset and, emitting a delightful vanilla aroma, reach full development during the night, withering at dawn. 

But the beauty of the flowers is not only cacti’s treasure. Many cacti have provided sustenance for the people---Indians in both North and South America for example---who live in the arid climes where they endemically grow. 

To bring a bit of the dessert’s beauty in the homes, the hedgehog cactus produces some of the most beautiful flowers in the cactus family. Its blossoms are brilliant and spectacularly large in relation to the size of the plant. Few hedgehogs grow more that 10 inches tall, yet their flowers may be more than three inches in diameter fully opened. The color of its blossoms varies from white, yellow and pale green to a mixture of red and blue, and every shade of purple. The satiny elegance in the subtle shading from dark at the base to lighter color at the tip of the petals. 

Thanks to modern horticultural process, growing and propagating cactus has become an exciting, major subculture in the gardening industry all over the world, including of course, the Philippines.

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