Selenicereus grandiflorus est une espèce de cactus originaire des Antilles, du Mexique et d’Amérique centrale qui est plus communément appelée « Reine de la nuit » en référence à l’ouverture nocturne de ses fleurs extravagantes. Lorsque Carl von Linné le décrivit en 1753, c’était le cactus connu le plus grand de son époque ! Aussi appelé « Cactus vanille », ses fleurs jaunâtres ont la particularité de ne fleurir qu’une nuit à la fin du printemps ou au début de l’été en dégageant une odeur proche à celle de la vanille. C’était aussi la fleur préférée de la Reine de France Marie-Antoinette !

Un cactus qui avait les faveurs de la reine !

En effet, on raconte que Marie-Antoinette s’occupait l’esprit à observer quotidiennement la croissance de boutons sur un Cereus à floraison nocturne (Selenicereus grandiflorus) qui avait ses faveurs. Quand arriva le grand jour de l’éclosion de la première fleur, on fit venir le célèbre peintre Pierre-Joseph Redouté et il peint la fleur à minuit devant la cour et la famille royale. Ce fut quelques semaines seulement avant la proclamation de la République !

Selenicereus_grandiflorus

Selenicereus : Quelques précisions botaniques !

Les Selenicereus sont des cactus épiphytes ou lithophytes, grimpant le long des troncs d’arbres à l’aide de racines aériennes. Ils ont des tiges cylindriques, fines et sarmenteuses et mesurant 5 mètres de long et plus. Les tiges comportent des côtes et des racines aériennes, des aréoles avec de courtes épines radiales. Leur floraison est généralement nocturne et a lieu en été, avec des fleurs de grande taille aux pétales externes longs et fins, avec la présence d’épines le long du tube floral. La fleur ne s’ouvre qu’une fois, de la nuit à l’aube, en exhalant un parfum puissant.

Selenicereus grandiflorus semis

Comment cultiver cette plante rare ?

Cette plante épiphyte a besoin d’un substrat de culture contenant suffisamment d’humus et dont l’humidité sera maintenue en été. Réaliser un mélange de 30% de sable, 20% de terreau et 50% de terre humifère, par exemple. Selenicereus grandiflorus préfère les expositions mi-ombragées ou lumineuses, mais le soleil direct est à éviter. Durant la période de repos hivernale, il est conseillé de conserver la plante à une température comprise entre 10 et 15°C. De croissance assez rapide, cette espèce peut pousser jusqu’à 3 mètres par an. Le semis des graines s’effectue à environ 25 °C dans un substrat sableux bien drainant et positionner à un emplacement chaud et lumineux. Encore rare en culture, seuls deux spécimens de cette espèce sont présentés au public en Europe, au jardin botanique de Saint-Pétersbourg et au Jardin botanique de Meise en Belgique. Si vous souhaitez acquérir des graines de cette espèce de collection, cliquez-ici : Acheter graines de Selenicereus grandiflorus !

Written by Lucas

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