Dragon Fruit Cactus in Bloom

dragon fruit cactus in bloom
Photo provided by David Sommers
July 25, 2017

Plants, like people, feel changes, some say. It makes you wonder, particularly when you look at the dragon fruit cactus plant that was recently captured in photographs before the renovation of Wellesley’s beloved greenhouses.

This plant grew in dramatic bends and twists through its years in a pot of soil. Its root sprouted a vine that climbed onto the walls of the greenhouse, clinging like a spider and poking into crevices and cracks. As renovations proceed, this cactus plant is drawing attention on campus as a portrait of resiliency.

Moving can be stressful, even for plants. But the cactus proved to be a delight, said Kristina Niovi Jones, director of the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. “Over the years this plant grew up into the structure,” she said. “It was a part of the greenhouse. We had to cut the top away from the base of the plant to do the move, but the amazing thing was that it bloomed the very next night. Imagine that. It’s just awesome.”

The renovated greenhouse is scheduled to reopen in 2019.