Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fragrance is a wonderful feature of some cacti and succulent flowers. Here are just a few of the ones that are known for their sweet scents.
Bristle-tufted twig-cactus (Erythrorhipsalis pilocarpa)
Native to South America, this species is related to the mistletoe cactus. An epiphyte, it has round, thin stems that occur in whorls. These tend to be erect when young. As the plant matures, the branches can become more cascading. The stems are purple or greenish-gray. The plant has bristle-like spines. The fragrant blooms are cream to pink.
Century plant (Agave maculosa)
Native to Texas, this species develops a large tuber-like root. Soft to the touch, the greenish-gray foliage is marked with hints of brown. Along the edges are tiny teeth forming a neat rosette. The leaves can reach around a foot in length. The flower spike grows to about three feet, and bears fragrant whitish-green flowers.
Fragrant moondrops (Pseudorhipsalis macrantha)
Native to Mexico, and parts of Central America, this floriferous species is also an epiphyte. The long, slender stems have wavy edges. Mostly blooming during the winter, the pale creamy yellow blooms open. These are noted for their pleasant fragrance.
Night blooming cereus (Hylocereus spp.)
There are several species of these scented, night blooming cereus. These are native to Mexico and the Caribbean as well as South America. These cereus have slender stems that are angled. They clamber and climb on anything within reach. The stems will sometimes have spines.
The night blooming flowers are noted for their fragrance. Very large in size, they can sometimes be reddish. However, generally night blooming cereus blossoms will be mostly white.
Night blooming cereus (Selenicereus pteranthus)
Native to Mexico, this is a vigorous, fast growing plant with attractive ribbed stems. These are gray-green. Sometimes, they will have a few spines. The wonderfully scented blooms are among the largest of this group, nearly a foot in length. These are whitish.
Queen of the night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
Native to Mexico and Guatemala, this is one of the epiphytic cacti. Queen of the night has naturalized in some parts of South America. A type of orchid cacti group, this much branched plant produces slender stems that are tapered. These have curving edges.
Sometimes known as Dutchman’s pipe, its flowers open during the night. Appearing on long, graceful tubes, the sweetly scented flowers are either white or cream.