A few days ago in Everglades National Park I came across an endangered Fragrant Prickly Apple Cactus (Harrisia fragrans) with...

Fragrant Prickly Apple Cactus

Everglades National Park, Florida

A few days ago in Everglades National Park I came across an endangered Fragrant Prickly Apple Cactus (Harrisia fragrans) with a flower bud that I hoped would bloom soon. I was told they bloom between 10 pm and 1 am, so Thursday night I drive all the way to the park and hike out to the cactus by 11 pm. Of course, it wasn't blooming! The next day I start thinking I should give it one more try, so I went back last night. I hiked out to the cactus by midnight, still not blooming. I returned to my SUV and went to sleep for a few hours, planning to shoot "other stuff" at dawn. I hiked back out there and noticed something white off in the distance behind a Buttonwood tree that was toppled by the hurricane. I get a little closer and couldn't believe that it was a beautiful cactus flower poking its way up through the ground vegetation. This cactus was so covered by vegetation I had never even noticed it before on my previous days in that area. I reach the flower and see a large brown beetle or roach in the center, then notice it had eaten some of the flower petals on the bottom. Noooooooooo!!!!! So, the flower was no longer a perfect specimen, but I'll still take it. I convinced the bug to leave, took a number of shots, then went to check on something else. It was just after sunrise when I returned to the flower and it had already started to close. It was a really special opportunity to find and photograph this cactus flower. Hopefully, I can find more.

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