Orchid Cactus pink
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Orchid Cactus pink
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Orchid cactus, Pink Orchid cactus, Jungle cactus, Night blooming cereus
Botanical name: Epiphyllum hybrid    Family: Cactaceae (cactus family)

This is a hybrid of Epiphyllum which has deep pink blooms. Orchid cactus is by far the most popular and widely cultivated species from this genus of cacti. The plant blooms at night, since the flowers are predominantly pollinated by bats and large moths. They have large white star-like flowers to help their pollinators locate the blossoms by moon or star light, and many have very lovely fragrances. Pink flowers, the size of a dinner plate, open as soon as the sun goes down and stay open all night, closing in the morning. Orchid cacti are at the pinnacle of cactus evolution, having left the mundane process of growing on the ground and moved into the treetops to exploit that unique environment -- the same one occupied by many orchids. Like orchids, epiphyllums have evolved into epiphytic plants which live on the surface of other plants. They are not parasites, merely passengers hitching a ride up out of the gloomy understory of the forest and into the bright light and clear air of the canopy. Epiphyllums are indeed true cacti, but are more often labeled as "Epicacti" or "jungle cacti" to differentiate them from related desert flora. Many plant lovers also call them "orchid cacti" because of the very large and colorful flowers. The great size and shape of the flowers, as well as their often intoxicatingly sweet fragrance, comes from the wild Epiphyllum genes, but the amazing colors mostly come from other cactus genera that have been cross-bred into the hybrid epiphyllums.
Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Manipur
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