Queen of the night (Peniocereus greggii) is a desert cactus native to Texas, Arizona and northern Mexico. Its nickname evokes its elite status, a result of its beautiful, night-blooming, fragrant white flower. The flower is rarely seen in the wild, however, because it only survives for a few hours.
Queen of the night is also known by a variety of vernacular or common names. One of the most common names encountered is night-blooming cereus, a reference to the genera to which the plant belongs. Similarly, due to its habitat and flowering habit, it is sometimes called desert night-blooming cereus or Arizona queen of the night. The name Reina de la Noche, which is simply Spanish for “queen of the night,” is also used.
Like other Cereus species, queen of the night is a perennial succulent that thrives in desert flats, where the soil is sandy and dry. In cultivation, the plant prefers at least some shade but will tolerate full sun. The slender gray-green stems, which may be erect or sprawl up to 8 feet, are elliptical in shape and contain ribs from which black spines emerge. The structural attributes of this species is likely the reason for yet another alternate name: deer-horn cactus.