Time lapse shows rare moonflower bloom

The Amazon moonflower blooms one night a year. That's it! No encores!
moonflower bloom Not just any bloom. Behold, the rare beauty of the Amazon moonflower. (Cambridge University Botanic Garden)


Flowers bloom. It's what they do, right? And sure, it's quite lovely and all, but it's not exactly worth writing about. Is it?

Maybe not with most flowers. But the Amazon moonflower is NOT just any flower. This remarkable rainforest plant blooms for just one night a year. Then it quickly begins to die, releasing a foul-smelling odour and that's that. Until next year.

Because of its elusive schedule—not to mention its scarcity (these are not common plants)—actually seeing one of these flowers do their thing is a real treat.

And thanks to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, we can share a time lapse video of a recent bloom from their garden. Woo hoo!

Why at night?

Embed from Getty Images

Flowers that bloom at night are looking to be pollinated by nocturnal animals like moths. (Getty Embed)

Before we observe this cool phenomenon, you might have a question about something we wrote above. The Amazon moonflower blooms at night, which might seem a bit strange given that we often hear that flowers bloom during the day. But that's not entirely true.

Yes, many flowers bloom daily to take advantage of busy daytime pollinators like bees and birds. But there are also flowers that bloom only at night, catering to the schedule of other pollinators like bats and moths.

As it blooms for its one-night-only performance, the Amazon moonflower releases a beautiful scent that floats through the forest, inviting moths visit. Then a few hours later, it's gone.

Enjoy the show

That's what happened in the Cambridge greenhouse on February 20. Except instead of moths, the blooming moonflower attracted excited horticulturists (expert plant growers) and thousands of online viewers. Starting in the early afternoon, it completed its bloom by supper time.

You can watch the flower do its wondrous thing in the timelapse video below.


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