Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Selenicereus grandiflorus (L.) Britt. & Rose

Frost tender, climbing, epiphytic cactus with 5- to 8-ribbed stems, to 2.5cm thick, and nocturnal, fragrant white flowers in summer.  To 5m.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The subject of our present figure yields to no plant in the size, delicacy, and fragrance of its blossoms: nor are these its only peculiarities; it has been aptly described as

“Queen of the dark, whose tender glories fade / In the gay radiance of the noon-tide hours. / That flower, supreme in loveliness, and pure / As the pale Cynthia’s beams, through which unveiled / It blooms, as if unwilling to endure / The gaze, by which such beauties are assailed.”

In our stoves the season of blossoming is usually the month of August.  At ten or eleven at night the flowers are fully unfolded, and by day-light they are closed never more to expand.  The closing of the flower may be retarded as Mr. Murray has ascertained, even for a whole day by removing the bud before it is fully open, and putting the cut end into wet sand.  Our drawing was made from a plant which had three flowers in perfection at the same hour.  The species is a native of he West India Islands, and was, according to Hortus Kewensis, cultivated before 1700, in the Royal Gardens at Hampton Court.’  [BM t.3381/1835].  ABR pl.508/1808.

Figured in Britton & Rose – The Cactaceae vol.II, pl.33/1920.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.298/1850].


Published Mar 02, 2010 - 02:33 PM | Last updated Jul 15, 2010 - 05:17 PM

Figured is a cylindrical cactus with large white flower and pink fruit.  The Cactaceae vol.II, pl.33, 1820.

Selenicereus grandiflorus (L.) Britt. & Rose | Britton & Rose – The Cactaceae vol.II, pl.33/1820 | BHL

Family Cactaceae
Region of origin

Mexico, West Indies

  • Cereus grandiflorus (L.) Mill.
  • Cactus grandiflorus L. 
Common Name

Queen of the night

Name in the Camden Park Record

Cereus grandiflora 

Confidence level high