The Cactus Beauty that rules our gardens

The beautiful flowers that bloom at night have a heavy, heady fragrance. Known as 'Brahmakamalam', this cactus variety also yields a fruit that we call 'dragon fruit'!

The whole of last month, this member of the cactus family (Hylocereus) has been delighting people across our city. I clicked the photos below in front of my bank at J P Nagar 5th Phase.

This flower/cactus is not native to India; it comes from Central and South America. But we certainly seem to have adopted it; locally, it’s called “Brahmakamalam” (though the actual Brahmakamalam is another plant altogether!) and the edible fruit is called “Dragon fruit”, thanks to its shape and colour. You can see the fruit if you click on the link here.

The flowers bloom at night, and have a heavy, heady fragrance. I also spotted it blooming in the Valley School area. It was, obviously, planted at some earlier date, but has grown wild in a large banyan tree, and it was an unexpected delight to see the flowers!

I hope all of you get to see this beautiful flower some time, if you haven’t already! I see them blooming in all the small lanes of the area where I live, as I walk.

You can ask, in the nurseries, for “Brahmakamalam” or “Pitaya” if you’d like this climbing cactus in your garden. When you look at it, think of how far the plant has travelled to reach our shores!

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