Ella & The Hylocereus Undatus

EKV

Ella and I were on our way to breakfast.  We had dropped Amoeba off at work and were looking for a little local diner, not a tourist spot.  We headed off the beach strip and up into the hills.  The road was twisty and dense vegetation packed either side, but every other curve or so there was a pull-out and I caught glimpses of a shopping center on the ridge above us.   Just as I turned the last corner, Ella yelled for me to stop.

She was hopping all over the car, pointing out the window and jabbering a mile a minute.  I thought for certain she’d seen a dead body along side the road.  I wondered if I should call 911.  I pulled over and Ella shot out of the car and ran down the road as fast as her fat little elephant legs could move her.  I followed.

I am so glad I had enough sense to grab my camera.  Hylocereus Undatus is generally only seen at night.  Like a vampire, it cannot stand the light of day and withers away when sunlight hits it.

Hylocereus undatus

Thanks to the dense vegetation on either side of the road, the sun had barely made it to this patch, but this flower is already closing up.

Hylocereus undatus

Most of the flowers had 3 or 4 bees in them frantically working to gather the pollen before the blossom closed and wilted away.

Ella & Hylocereus undatus

I got Ella to pause here so I could take a picture of her, but for the most part she was climbing through the prickly cactus like she was on a mission. I asked her what she was looking for.

“Dragon fruit!” She told me. “This is the kind of cactus that produces Dragon fruit.”

Then we both looked, but we didn’t find any. Later I asked Amoeba about it. He said the chances of the Hylocereus undatus creating fruit were slim because there weren’t many fruit bats on Kona to pollinate the plants. I told him the plants were full of bees and asked why they couldn’t do the job.

Hylocereus undatus

Amoeba explained that the pollen is actually too far away from the stamen, which the bees never go near because they have no reason to. If Ella and I had known that, we probably would have hung out on the mountainside caressing flowers and tickling stamens — and I likely would have gotten stung for my trouble. Since I am allergic, it is probably best we didn’t know.