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Accepted Scientific Name: Euphorbia pseudocactus A.Berger
Sukkul. Euphorb. 78 (1907) A.Berger
Crest form at Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii (USA). March 12, 2012.
Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar). The wild form is probably from KwaZulu-Natal (only near Muden). culture Italy?
Euphorbia pseudocactus A.Berger
Sukkul. Euphorb. 78 (1907)
- Euphorbia pseudocactus A.Berger
- Euphorbia х lyttoniana Dexter
- Euphorbia pseudocactus f. cristata hort.
Description: Euphorbia pseudocactus is a multi-branched, dwarf-stemmed succulent shrub that, as its name suggests, resembles a cactus. The stems often have distinctive yellow V-shaped markings. Plants eventually form large mounded clumps branching from the base and above, 60-120 cm tall and up to 2 m in diameter.
Crested form: The crested form (Euphorbia pseudocactus f. cristata) is a fast-growing and highly priced crested succulent forming odd sculptural shapes. Its stems fan out, some will form stable crests while others just cluster over one another. The crested form can also get very big making a spectacular specimen. Older crested plant can reach a considerable size (up to 1 m tall and in diameter, or more).
Stem: Fan shaped with angled, irregular ribs.
Ribs: 3 to 5 (but usually 4) angular with wavy edges and sinuate teeth up to 1.5 cm apart.
Stipular spines: Stout 5-12 mm long joined in a horny margin. This margin is usually a white/grey, as are the spines. These often have a dark brown or black tip.
Leaves: Leaves only appear briefly, less then 3 mm at the very tips of the growing canters only, briefly in summer.
Inflorescences (cymes): 1-3 in an horizontal line from the "flowering eyes", mid-way between each set of spines, simple. Peduncles 2 mm.
Flowers (cyathia): Up to 7 mm across. Nectar glands oblong, yellow and touching.
Fruits (capsules): Subsessile, acutely lobed, to 14 mm across.
Seeds: Subglobose, 3 mm in diameter smooth.
Bloom Season: Late winter through Late Summer
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Euphorbia pseudocactus group
- Euphorbia х lyttoniana Dexter: It is a spineless variant with intense markings usually shorter, it is also more square in cross-section, forming very compact, dense colonies of upright columns, selected from cultivated material.
- Euphorbia pseudocactus A.Berger: Multi-branched, dwarf-stemmed, candelabra shaped succulent, 60-120 cm tall. The stems often have distinctive yellow V-shaped markings. Plants eventually form large mounded clumps.
- Euphorbia pseudocactus f. cristata hort.: crested form.
- Euphorbia pseudocactus cv. Miniature: (a.k.a. "dwarf form" )Seedlings of the miniature form sometimes appears among normal seedlings of this species. Their branches are (3-) 4- to 5-angled, little segemented and only 2 to 2.5 cm in diameter.
- Euphorbia pseudocactus cv. Zig Zag: (sometimes called a Zig-Zag plant): far more popular, it is similar in form to Euphorbia grandicornis, but a much smaller and more manageable size.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Forest & Kim Starr “Euphorbia pseudocactus (Euphorbia)”. Plants of Hawaii. <http://www.starrenvironmental.com>. Web. 27 Sep. 2014.
2) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/giu/2000
3) Gideon Smith, Neil R. Crouch “Guide to Succulents of Southern Africa” Struik Nature, 01/nov/2009
4) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/ago/2011
5) White, A., Dyer, R.A. & Sloane, B.L. 1941.”The succulent Euphorbieae, vol. 2.“ Abby Garden Press. Pasadena, California.
6) Hermann Jacobsen “A handbook of succulent plants: descriptions, synonyms, and cultural details for succulents other than Cactaceae” Volume 1 Blandford Press, 1960
7) Hermann Jacobsen “Abromeitiella to Euphorbia” Blandford Press, 1960
8) The Euphorbia Journal-Strawberry Press-Vol.1 Page 106/Vol 5 Page 144.
9) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Volume 2. Springer, 2002
Crest form at Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii (USA). March 12, 2012. Photo by: Forest Starr & Kim Starr
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Euphorbia pseudocactus f. cristata needs bright light to partial shade for best appearance. It responds well to warmth, with its active growth period in the late spring and summer months. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch during active growing season (more than once a week during hot weather) In the winter months, waterigs should be suspended or restricted to once over the winter. The most common failure in growing this plant is over watering, especially during the winter months. Likes porous sub-acidic substrata (pH 6) with adequate drainage. Very tender, protect from frost.
Propagation: It is propagated by cuttings. It is recommend taking Euphorbia cuttings in Spring/Summer when the plant is growing so that they have a better chance of success. They key is heat & good air circulation. These cuttings should be dipped in Hormone powder (but it is not needed) and left for a period of 3-4 weeks to callous. Then pot the cutting and don't water ( or kept slightly moist) until rooted. These will root just fine, if you can put the pot outside in the summer, or put pot on a heating pad.
Crested growth: Unlike 'monstrous' varieties of plants, where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation, crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for no apparent reason. If you have any of the crested part left you need to remove the normal growth and leave the crested part behind this will need to be done regularly.
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. Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk (1962) described this plant as being virulently poisonous.
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