It being a number of years (46) since I took A-level Biology, I was checking on the interwebs to be sure that I understood the reproductive anatomy of this flower correctly, and found one page that was especially factual and helpful. But. It had a Parental Guidance warning.
I sat and read this, shaking my head in disbelief (or SMDH, as we say on the socials), and then thought: Maybe it’s me. Perhaps this is entirely appropriate. Is it me….?
I read the page again, which stated that the bits and pieces of the cactus flower are essentially the same as human bits and pieces, and therefore a Parental Guidance warning was considered necessary. Then I peered at my photo…. read the warning again…. looked at my tags…. read the warning again…. contemplated my own anatomy…. and decided that in fact it’s not me, and the world might, after all, have gone just a little bit mad. On the other hand, I grew up in the country, where everything was shaking its stamens and/or pistils all over the place all the time – so maybe I’m just irredeemably coarse.
Anyway. It being a vile morning, I was delighted to discover my poor neglected Christmas cactus bravely flowering away to itself in a dark corner of the conservatory, despite being so perilously dry its leaves were withering. Having elevated it to the end of the dining table where I can keep an eye on it (trying to retain the same orientation, because they don’t much like being turned when they’re in flower), and given it a little water (like in the films: “Gently! Just a little now – you don’t want to make yourself ill!”), I’m hoping that it might perk up, and possibly even give me a couple more photo opportunities before the Unfestive Season is out. Failing that, it’ll keel over completely. Time will tell.
Fun Schlumbergera fact (gleaned from the interwebs, and therefore entirely reliable): the ovary – which is, of course, the business end of the girly bits, and should therefore carry a special Parental Guidance warning of its own – is located inside the flower at the point where it makes a sharp 60° turn. You can’t see that on my close-up, but you can if you take a look at this rather nice time-lapse of some flowers opening.