Bloom Night

Nature, in her omnipresent power, self-determination, and unpredictability, has chosen to bloom many of our Peniocereus greggii on Saturday, June 25. And it surprised us.

Rest assured, the true benefactors of the bloom, the pollinators, reaped all the benefits from her unveiling.

As much as these are connected to our cycles of seasons, we can only do so much to predict outcomes. Measuring blooms, reviewing weather patterns, and looking at past data- these assist in our understanding but yet…fundamentally we are subservient to forces we do not know.

Please enjoy the video below featuring our Executive Director, Jamie Maslyn Larson, as she shares the last Queens of the season.

Get Updates with the Bloom Watch Newsletter!

The Queen of the Night is here in abundance as Tohono Chul is home to the world’s largest collection. When the summer heat begins to build, the buds of the night-blooming cereus begin to appear. After a period of start-and-stop growth, the buds blossom in a mass blooming on one night between the end of May and late July. Experience the magnificent Peniocereus greggii in its full glory; stroll luminaria illuminated trails leading to each plant; marvel at their gorgeous flowers; breathe in their intense and intoxicating scent.

Once you’ve entered your email address, click continue and then select the Bloom Watch email list.

Bloom Watch emails will update you on the progress of the blossoms right up to the day we announce Bloom Night.


Lea sobre Bloom Night en español aquí!


Timelapse footage provided by Arizona Daily Star

Timelapse footage provided by Stephen Buchmann


The Bloom Watch Diaries 2022

Bloom Watch #4
June 21, 2022

Bloom Watch #4

Could It Be This Weekend? Late Monday morning Gardens Supervisor, Chris Kibler along with Gardeners, Shauna, Aaron, and myself went for a drive in the carts to take a look at what’s happening out on the Desert View Trail. The rain from the previous Friday had left a visible path...

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Bloom Watch #3
June 14, 2022

Bloom Watch #3

Quiet Repose Bach’s Cactus Nursery’s resident Queen bloomed early last week. Tohono Chul volunteer and Bach’s Cactus employee, Astrid Randall, snapped a photo. Chris Kibler, Tohono Chul Gardens Supervisor, says The Queen may bloom one week from now if the flower buds continue to grow at their current rate. He...

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Bloom Watch #2
June 2, 2022

Bloom Watch #2

Sounds of the Sonoran Desert It’s 4 o’clock in the garden, and the hustle and bustle of early afternoon is over. I relinquish my post at the greenhouse and head for the Desert View Trail. Startled by my sudden presence, a quail family scampers single file across the path. The...

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Bloom Watch #1
May 18, 2022

Bloom Watch #1

New Growth Midafternoon on the Desert View Trail there is an enveloping quiet. Only the wind against the ears and the shuffle of sand underfoot at first. Then the birds’ peaceful calls drift by and the hum of winged insects hovers in the whitethorn trees. Notice the shards of white...

Read More

Enjoy reading the Bloom Watch Diaries?

Check out all the blogs from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016!



Queen of the Night Coloring Sheet

courtesy of Adela Antoinette

As a sneak preview of her Cacti Oasis coloring book, Adela is releasing her Queen of the Night coloring page in honor of Bloom Night!

Cacti Oasis Coloring Book: Cacti & Succulents is a Sonoran desert-themed, illustrated coloring book filled with cacti & succulents.

“I want to share my love and passion with those who have just as much love for Sonoran botany as much as I do.” – Adela Antionette

Adela Antoinette (She/Her) is a published illustrator, designer and makeup artist. As a southwest born desert dweller, Antoinette’s work primarily centers on Sonoran Desert flora but fluctuates within botany through visiting different regions across the states. She specializes in various traditional mediums including her favorite, watercolor in which she has taught in workshops and classes at the Denali Education Center and The Drawing Studio. Her work has been displayed in various galleries in Arizona, Alaska, and California. Antoinette studied illustration and design at the University of Arizona, receiving her degree in Visual Communication. She is a Tucson, Arizona artist currently living in New York City.


The Queen of the Night is here in abundance as Tohono Chul is home to the world’s largest collection. When the summer heat begins to build, the buds of the night-blooming cereus begin to appear. After a period of start-and-stop growth, the buds blossom in a mass blooming on one night between the end of May and late July. Experience the magnificent Peniocereus greggii in its full glory; stroll luminaria illuminated trails leading to each plant; marvel at their gorgeous flowers; breathe in their intense and intoxicating scent.

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Bring a camera with a flash.
  • Bloom Night is considered a special event and guest passes are not eligible for use.

  • Majority of flowers bloom the same evening usually between late-May and Mid-July.
  • Tohono Chul has the largest private collection of Night Blooming Cereus in the world.
  • Researchers still don’t know how the flowers know when to bloom en masse.
  • Each year 1,500 to 2,500 people attend Bloom Night.
  • Flowers start opening at 5 p.m. and are in full bloom by 8 p.m.
  • Bloom Night is considered a special event and guest passes are not eligible for use.


 

It has a hallowed place in Tohono O’ odham storytelling, has inspired folk songs, paintings, thousands of photographs and even a perfume. The Night Blooming Cereus, Peniocereus greggi, the aptly nick-named “The Queen of the Night”, creates an elusive flower, blooming en masse only one night of the year. Opening slowly at dusk the beautiful palm-sized flower is wilted within a few hours of sunrise.

Tohono Chul, a non-profit botanical garden and nature preserve, on Tucson’s northwest side, has the largest private collection of Peniocereus greggi in the world. Native to Southwestern North America, the cactus looks like a bunch of dead sticks most of the year, only revealing its spectacular flower in the heat of the early Tucson summer.

Since the cactus cannot self-pollinate, the plants must bloom on the same evening to ensure pollination, usually by hawk moths. The more blooms that are open, the greater the chances of pollination. The true mystery of the NBC is how the majority know when to bloom.

“We’ve been studying the NBC for over 20 years now and we still don’t know what triggers the bloom. The best we can figure is there is some type of chemical communication amongst the cacti” says Lee Mason, Director of General Services for Tohono Chul.

Tohono Chul planted and cultivated many of the cacti, others grew naturally on the grounds creating an amazing collection. Thinking it was a shame that the gardens were closed while these rare flowers were blooming, it was decided to stay open late for a few volunteers and their friends. It’s since turned into an annual event with thousands of people attending each year.

And that’s no small feat considering Bloom Night cannot be called until between 12pm and 4pm the day of the bloom. “We usually have a pretty good indication within a few days of the bloom, but they’ve tricked us before so we wait until we’re absolutely positive to make the call”, says Mason.

Upon the official bloom call, Tohono Chul galvanizes its forces, contacting dozens of volunteers to help light the desert paths and organize tours, the media is contacted and local news crews descend upon the Park and the local populace changes its dinner plans to attend.

“It’s incredible how the entire community immediately reacts once Bloom night is called “ says Marcia Ring, Tohono Chul’s Marketing Manager, “This has truly become the quintessential summer event in Tucson, which, considering the uniqueness and beauty of the bloom, isn’t really surprising”.


Check out our first-ever Virtual Bloom Night from 2020!

QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, VIDEO!

See the 3-hour video again and again! Not to mention that chance to make it “Bloom Night” whenever you want with playlists featuring local musicians by KXCI, cocktail recipes and a tutorial from Ampersand & Ampersand!

TOHONO CHUL @ HOME

The Tohono Chul @ home Content Series is featuring the Queen of the Night! Enjoy videos, tutorials, photos, activities, giveaways, and more all devoted to The Queen herself.