If there was such a thing as the anti-wallflower, it would most definitely be from genera epipyllum. These "orchid cacti" blooms are bold, large, and unforgettably luscious. San Francisco's Epiphyllum Society has been cultivating and promoting interest in these astonishing plants for many years -- trading cuttings, seeds, and tips at their seven yearly meetings. The group held one of their two yearly flower shows this past weekend at Strybling Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, and it was something to see.
The blooms were lined up like prize-contending tomatoes at a county fair: one to a bud vase, and each with a written description of its outstanding features.
Members and visitors wandered around observing the flowers, taking notes, sampling the fragrances, oohing and aahing. There was floral envy in spades.
Here's a distillation of the fact sheet they distributed: &bull "Epies" can be grown from seed but it takes forever. Better to befriend a hobbyist and beg for a cutting. (or join the Society) &bull Use plastic pots instead of clay, and label your pot with the plant's name. &bull They need shade, but not too much shade. &bull They're tropical plants -- don't let them dry out! &bull If you get good at growing them you can have blooms during the greater part of the year. And here's what you get from joining the Society: "two flower shows a year, one in May and the other in June, four journals a year, cutting exchanges, raffles, special guest speakers, programs, and show and tell discussions." Membership is a measly $12/year, and the group meets in the San Francisco County Fair Building, right next to Strybling Arboretum in GG Park. For more info, contact them by email.