The Mysterious Flower at My Window

Budding Orchid Cactus as on 10-09-2013
As on 10-10-2013

This lovely flower bloomed at my window on the night of October 11, 2013. All this while, we have been calling it “Bethlehem flower” whereas friends whom I’ve shown it to called it “Brahma Kamal”. So as always, before I post pictures online, I began to research and realized there’s so much misinformation and myths on the internet; so many beautiful videos, articles, and blogs on this flower but the content is so confusing and different all over.

Bloomed Orchid Cactus as on 10-11-2013

After reading and watching some of these I have come to these conclusions,

Google search is not enough:

When you do a Google search for “Brahma Kamal” or “Saussurea obvallata” on the right-hand-side you’ll see a glimpse of the information as on the wiki page of  “Saussurea obvallata” whereas most of the images above it belong to “Epiphyllum oxypetalum”.

I stumbled upon “Epiphyllum oxypetalum” while video-hoping on YouTube. Amazed to see two names and wiki pages for the seemingly identical flower (represented in pictures) my curiosity grew.  To add to this confusion the “Saussurea obvallata” wiki page does not have a picture represented.

So after digging some more, I present to you… the differences –


“Epiphyllum oxypetalum”

“Saussurea obvallata”

Aka Orchid Cactus, Dutchman’s pipe

or Queen of the Night

Aka Brahmakamal, Kon and Kapfu

Family: Cactaceae

Family: Asteraceae

It is the state flower of Uttarakhand

Blooms one night

Blooms one night

Bud is peach & cream

Bud is green & cream

Grows at sea level

Grows at high altitudes

Just for reference this is “Saussurea obvallata”


Pic taken from

So the plant I have is the “Epiphyllum oxypetalum” and not the “Star of Bethlehem” or the “Brahma Kamal”.  Although, there are so many people all over calling it the “Brahma Kamal” I may just have to use that name to help people associate.

Now that that’s sorted here are some myths I’d like to clear,


My Plant Experience

Small pot/large pot

Pot is medium so I guess size doesn’t matter

Indirect sunlight

Gets direct sunlight from approx. 8-11

Cow dung As Manure

Never used manure, mom uses the water we wash rice in

Support the leaf the bud is on

Never done it, won’t do it

Never repot it

Never tried, but I doubt it will mind

Keep it in open air

Always has been, don’t know if it’s a compulsion

Expected in August & September

& grows after 10-14 years

Had them in December 2006, September 2012,

May and October 2013

I don’t remember exactly but we have had the plant since early 2006. Between 2006 and 2012 there may have been some blossoms but the plant was hidden behind other plants hence could’ve missed them.

This is all I saw of last Septembers 3 😦

After the bloom
September 2012

If you were curious about this flower and got as confused as me with the images online, I’m sure this will help. If you’re just a flower/nature lover I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

Happy Planting!



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