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Origin and Habitat: It is known only in cultivation and possibly a hybrid. (Supposed from wild plants found in South Africa, Cape Province)
Euphorbia submamillaris (A.Berger) A.Berger
Sukkul. Euphorb. 95 1907 publ. 1906.
- Euphorbia submamillaris (A.Berger) A.Berger
- Euphorbia submammillaris f. pfersdorfii hort.
- Euphorbia pfersdorfii hort.
Description: Euphorbia submamillaris, firstly described from dried material of unknown origin and distribution, is a poorly known taxon which may not be a good species (possibly a hybrid). It is known only in cultivation and appears to have some affinity with the 'corncob' species Euphorbia pulvinata or possibly a form of Euphorbia fimbriata. Moreover the plant found in cultivation are quite variable, and the dissimilarity among seedlings may be considerable.
Habit: It is a densely branched, dioecious, succulent perennial dwarf-shrublets to 20 cm tall, forming compact clumps.
Branches: 1.5-2.5(-4) cm in diameter, 7-to 10-ribbed, deeply grooved between. Ribs with shallow tubercles separated by horizontal grooves to 4 mm apart.
Leaves: Tiny, rudimentary only at the top of the new branch and soon deciduous. They are succulent, lanceolate, green in colour, 3-4 mm long and approx.
Spines: The “spines” are indeed solitary sterile peduncles 1 - 2 cm long, with 3 - 4 small bracts.
Flowers (cyathia): 5 mm in diameter, wine-red, solitary clustered at the end of the branches. Peduncles to 4 mm long with 5 - 6 purplish bracts to 3 mm long. Nectar-glands oblong, touching. Unisexual male and female ciathia on separate plants.
Fruits and seeds not known.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Euphorbia submammillaris group
- Euphorbia cv. Multiprolifera: forms large crowded clumps composed by thousands of tiny heads. It is similar to Euphorbia submammillaris f. pfersdorfii (if not the same) and presumably of hybrid origin.
- Euphorbia sp. (as submamillaris) hort.: has larger, stouter and less branches stems than standard "mammillaris". Ditribution: known only in cultivation and possibly a hybrid.
- Euphorbia submamillaris (A.Berger) A.Berger: is a densely branched dwarf-shrublets to 20 cm tall, forming compact clumps. It is known only in cultivation. (Supposed from wild plants found in South Africa, Cape Province)
- Euphorbia submammillaris f. pfersdorfii hort.: produces innumerable few-angled branchlets only few mm across and forms compact crowded cushions. It is known only as a cultivars.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
2) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer, 2002
3) Alfred Byrd Graf “Exotica, series 4 international: pictorial cyclopedia of exotic plants from tropical and near-tropic regions” Roehrs Co. Publishers, 1985.
4) White, A., Dyer, R.A. & Sloane, B.L. ”The succulent Euphorbieae“ Abby Garden Press. Pasadena, California. 1941
Cultivation and Propagation: Euphorbia submamillaris is an easy-to-grow plant for pot culture. It grows well in a very draining mineral potting substrate, but it isn't picky about soil. It can be watered during the growing season, and enjoys average feeding and watering. When dormant in winter, keep it totally dry at at around 4°C. They need a lot of light to keep their compact growth-form. The plants that are not kept in full sun grow faster, but become untidy and may need support as they get larger. But one gets best colour if grown in full sun, where the chalk white stem of this low-growing clumping columnar plant has the best colour. It is also a prolific flowerer and makes a spectacular specimen.
Propagation: It is propagated by cuttings or seeds. Its branches and offsets are readily available. If you remove an offset, remember to let it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal (cuttings planted too soon easily rot before they can grow roots). It is better to wash the cut to remove the latex. The seed can be sown just under the surface in normal seedling trays, in a sandy seed mix. Germination usually occurs within 1 - 3 weeks.
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 may irritate skin, so pay extreme attention not to get any in your eyes or mouth.
Cultivated plants must be handled carefully.
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