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Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Euphorbia susannae Marloth
S. African Gard. 19: 191. 1929
Euphorbia susannae f. variegata cristata
Description: The common Euphorbia susannaeSN|15988]]SN|15988]] is a small clumping or (rarely) solitary succulent, that forms nice hemispherical clumps up to 10 cm tall and 30 cm in diameter. The schizochromic cultivar (Euphorbia susannaeSN|15988]]SN|15988]] cv. Lutea) has uniformly pale yellow stems due to the absence (or very reduced production) of chlorophyll pigments. This form with yellow stems is very attractive and highly prized. This schizochromic form is always seen grafted on stronger columnar species, and cannot can be grown on its own roots.
Stems: Green, cream, yellow and pink, prominently tubercled, harmless, 12 to 16 angled. It produces a host of branches from the central roundish base (caudex).
Leaves: Reduced to short bristles on the young stems.
Flowers: Green or brownish cyathias in the fall or spring.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Euphorbia susannae group
- Euphorbia susannae Marloth: Small clumping succulent, that forms nice hemispherical clumps up to 10 cm tall and 3o cm in diameter.
- Euphorbia susannae f. variegata cristata: Variegated and crested form.
- Euphorbia susannae f. variegata hort.: Yellow, cream and pale watery-green variegated form.
- Euphorbia susannae cv. Lutea hort.: Yellow (albinous) form.
Notes: Variegation, albinism & schizochromism.
Variegation: A variegated plant has sectors, patches or stripes with two or more different colours, even distinct shades of green. Plants with variegated stems or leaves are often attractive and highly prized. In most species the stems or leaves are normally green, and variegated epidermis is an uncommon mutation, termed a chimera. A chimeral variegation is due to losing the ability to produce chlorophyll in some of the plant’s tissue, so that this tissue is no longer green. Tissues lacking chlorophyll are usually white or pale yellow coloured (due to carotenoid pigments) or red (due to betalain or anthocyanin pigments) contrasting with the normal green tissue. There are several forms of variegation, depending on the tissues that have been affected. The variegation in some forms is unstable. The extent and nature of the variegation can vary, and sometimes the plant will return to the green form. In others it is stable and does not change under normal conditions. Because the variegation is due to the presence of two kinds of plant tissue, propagating the plant must be by a vegetative method of propagation that preserves both types of tissue in relation to each other.
Albinism: Every once in a while a plant exhibits albinism (completely lacking chlorophyll pigment). This means that its tissue is unable to carry out photosynthesis. The result is a completely cream-white plant. This plant will be weaker than a green plant, and albinism is generally a fatal trait (it can't produce its own food and it's not getting it from anything else). Without chlorophyll, the albino plant has no way to manufacture the food needed for survival and growth to maturity. This implies that these plants cannot survive on their own roots and necessitate being grafted on a normal green plant that provides food. Some of these albino plants are indeed very popular, and sought after by collectors.
Schizochromism: The yellow or red appearance of some plants is more precisely caused by another aberration called "schizochromism". Here, though, the specific green pigment (chlorophyll) is missing: every other pigment is present at normal levels. The dominant green colouration is lost, but the plant will still more than likely have normal other pigments that give the yellow overall appearance of stems and the red colouration of spines.
Euphorbia susannae cv. Lutea Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
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Cultivation and Propagation: The yellow form of Euphorbia susannaeSN|16003]]SN|15988]] cannot be grow on its own roots,
and the plants are grafted on a more vigorous and easier stock (Euphorbia canariensisSN|15754]]SN|15754]] or Euphorbia resiniferaSN|15988]]SN|16003]].)
Frost Tolerance: Need frost protection.
Sun Exposure: Light shade avoid direct sun.
Grafting euphorbias: The method of grafting euphorbias differs little from that of other succulents, except in one important aspect. The latex must be washed or sprayed off until hardly anything remains. After the latex flow has stopped, a further 1-2 mm slice can be taken from both surfaces without a new latex flow starting. Both scion and stock need to be at the start of the growing season. The stock should be cut as near as possible to the growing tip, as here the vascular bundles are dense and not yet woody and will feed the scion in the best possible way. Where possible stock and scion should be of similar diameter. The cut surfaces are held together with elastic bands in cross style, over the plant top and under the pot. The plants should be left in an airy and shady place for 7-10 days before the bands are removed.
Warning: As with all other Euphorbias when a plant get damaged it exudes a thick white milky sap known as latex. This latex is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. So pay extreme attention not to get any in your eyes or mouth. Cultivated plants must be handled carefully.
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