Find this flower at Joan Durante Park — but only in the early morning.
The Queen of the Night flower (known specifically as the Night-Blooming Cereus) is preparing its annual show of big blooms crawling up and down its vines — for one night only at Joan M. Durante Park in Longboat Key.
It’s a sort of air plant, Longboat Key Garden Club president Susan Phillips said, and it’s using a couple of palms right at the entrance to the park as its host. The flowers are bigger than you think they’re going to be. Hold out your hand — from wrist to fingertip is about the diameter of the blossom.
The buds are partially opening, but they will only show their full brilliance at night — when the town-run park is closed. Then, the spindly fingers that enclose the bud will open and reveal a glorious white flower, which you can see if you peek inside the burgeoning blooms. It's beautiful now, even before the buds burst, and an example of the wild Florida that is still all around us.
If you go in the cooler mornings before the sun shrinks the sight away, you may be able to catch a glimpse. Try it over the weekend, because the blooms look close to bursting. Send us a photo if you do.
Joan M. Durante Park is at 5550 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Town parks are open from dawn to dusk, which these days is around 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.