Golden Torch Cactus Flower

December 08, 2022



Photographer: Linda Marcy
Summary Author: Dale Hugo  

Shown above is a Golden Torch cactus flower (Echinopsis spachiana). It was found blooming in the photographer’s yard in Gilbert, Arizona. Like most cacti, they bloom at night and only for a short time. Usually after dusk the blossoms appear for fertilization by nighttime pollinators that are attracted by the wonderful fragrances of cacti flowers. A number of desert pollinators apparently avoid the heat of day, and thus the night blooming tendency of many cacti.

These flowers last only through the morning, flowering for only 10 hours or so. But their beauty makes up for the short-lived blooms. This one faded out before noon. Sic Transit Gloria.

The Golden Torch is sometimes planted in rock gardens in the U.S. Southwest and elsewhere. They attain heights of about 6 ft (2 m) and grow in clumps as you can see here. Sometimes the entire head of the cactus will be covered with several flowers at once. The spines are nearly an inch (2 cm) long and worthy of your respect. Don’t back up in an Arizona garden! Be careful not to over-water your cactus plants, but they do appreciate sporadic watering during long dry spells. Photo taken in early July 2022.

Gilbert, Arizona Coordinates: 33.3528, -111.7890

Related Links:

Nyctinasty in Cacti

Desert Bloom