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An example of a selenicereus cactus.

Image: Shutterstock

This post was updated at 12:45 p.m. on May 31.

Selby Gardens’ selenicereus cactus is getting ready to burst into spectacular bloom tonight--for one night only. 

Selenicereus is native to Central and South America and the Caribbean, and its name is derived from Selene, the Greek moon goddess, and cereus, the Latin word for candle. That’s appropriate, considering that once a year--as night falls on the gardens--giant yellow and white blossoms open up along the length of the plant and then close the next morning, when the sun rises. The cactus won't bloom again for another year. 

To watch the bloom, head to Selby Gardens tonight from 8-11 p.m., where botanists will be on hand to answer questions during a pop-up "bloom party." Guests should plan to bring a camera, bug spray, lawn chairs and a flashlight. For more information, visit selby.org or call (941) 366-5731. 

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