The orchid cactus, native to hot tropical regions in South America, only blooms at night. This means the plant escapes the scorch of the sun in the daytime. Insects in the area are also most active when the fragrant white flowers open between 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., which will help the cactus pollinate.
After just a few hours, the flowers of the orchid cactus will wilt before dawn. This short blooming time decreases the orchid cactus' water loss in the arid desert. In Chinese, it's called "tan hua yi xian," which describes someone who has a brief moment of glory like a flash in the pan.
The orchid cactus is now widely cultivated across the world, especially in Southeast Asia, and is now endemic to China.
You can now have a glimpse of this elegant flower in the Botanic Garden at the Horticultural Expo in Beijing.