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Accepted Scientific Name: Euphorbia guentheri (Pax) Bruyns
Taxon 55: 413 2006
Origin and Habitat: South East Kenya, Teita Distr. Make Tan, not far from Buru Mountain. It is known from the type locality only.
Altitude: 900 - 1000 metres above sea level.
Habitat: It grows in grass in open scrub.
ENGLISH: Sausage Spurge
JAPANESE (日本語): グエンテリー, 紫紋竜
RUSSIAN (Русский): Монадениум Гентери
Description: Monadenium guentheri is a stout perennial succulent herb with long, cylindrical stems, with prominent spine-tipped tubercles and fleshy sickle-shaped deciduous leaves. Flowers small with a red rim-like gland and enclosed in two fused greenish-white bracts with lovely purple mottling. At yet very few species of this Genus are to be found in collections but this one is one of the older species described during the early part of the twentieth-century.
Root: It has a fleshy, thick, rootstock that can be profitably raised.
Stems: Many, unbranched, fleshy, cylindric, spiny, erect to 15-60 cm tall or decumbent to 90 cm long, to 2 cm in diameter, tessellated with prominent slightly recurved conical tubercles to 7 x 7 mm from which the leaves arise. Each tubercles with 1-3 small prickles clustered at apex around the base of the leaf or leaf-scar, stout, to 2 mm long, with the middle spine deflexed, and the lateral smaller, glabrous.
Leaves: Obovate, to 7-80 mm long, 3-18 mm wide, broad, linear-lanceolate, acute, entire, fleshy, with margins more-or-less crisped, deciduous, glabrous.
Inflorescences (cymes): Simple in the axils of the tubercles; peduncles 4-6 mm long, bearing 1–2 ciathya. Bract-cup oblique, 6-mm long, 5 mm broad, shortly and acutely 2-lobed at the apex, open in front, with the margins not nearly meeting, 2-keeled down the back, glabrous, greenish- white flushed pink or purple, lobes acute.
Flowers (cyathia): About 5 long and 4 mm across open to below the middle in front, scarcely narrowing to the truncate revolute rim-like top or gland, glabrous; nectar-glands rim red.
Fruits (capsules): Acutely 3-lobed, about 5 x 5 mm, with 2 narrow fleshy toothed wings along each angle; Ped 5 mm;
Seeds: Oblong, 3-3.8 mm long 1.5 mm broad, 4-angled, truncate at each end, smooth, minutely tuberculate, grey, caruncle present.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer, 2002
2) By J. G. Baker, with additions by C. H. Wright. “Flora of Tropical Africa” Vol 6 Part 1, page 441 1913
3) Joseph Burtt-Davy, A C Hoyle “Check-lists of the Forest Trees and Shrubs of the British Empire” Edizione 5, Parte 2 1949
4) Arthur John Jex-Blake “Gardening in East Africa: A Practical Handbook” Longmans, Green, 1957
5) Alain Campbell White, Robert Allen Dyer, Boyd L. Sloane “The succelent Euphorbisae (southern Africa)” Abbey garden press, 1941
6) Jean-Pierre Lebrun, Adélaïde L. Stork “Tropical African flowering plants: ecology and distribution” Volume 2 Éditions Conservatoire et jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genéve, 2003
Monadenium guentheri (Euphorbia guentheri) Photo by: Frikkie Hall
Monadenium guentheri (Euphorbia guentheri) Photo by: Alexander Arzberger
Cultivation and Propagation: On the whole Monadenium guentheri adapts to cultivation without much difficulty. They must be grown very hard in the nursery as close to the natural conditions as possible. This ensures that they keep their compact habit.
Growing rate: It is a moderately fast grower, and will quickly become large masterpieces in just 3-5 years.
Light: It can tolerate moderate shade, and a plant that has been growing in shade should be slowly hardened off before placing it in full sun as the plant will be severely scorched if moved too suddenly from shade into sun.
Soil: Generally, any quick-draining succulent soil mix will suit it. In pots give the plant an airy growing medium which mainly consists of non organic material such us clay, pumice, lava grit, and only a little peat or leaf-mould.
Repotting: It like quite small pots, repot in very later winter, early spring.
Waterings: The sausage-like stem will do well will take a reasonable amount of water in hot weather, when they grow (about once a week). It needs to be kept drier in winter (when the leaves drop) and whenever not growing actively. However, this species seems to hate being wet for any extended period, and can rot easily (especially in winter) if overwatered.
Hardiness: Monadenium guentheri, due to its African origin, cannot tolerate freezing temperatures, and should be protected from cold (but should be able to handle 7 degrees C very easily).
Propagation: Cuttings, seeds.
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