13 November 2010

Euphorbia decaryi

Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh)
decaryi (de-KAR-yee)
Fowls foot

horizontal branches can be removed to expose the trunk

From southeast Madagascar, Euphorbia decaryi is a mat-forming stem succulent that spreads almost horizontally on the ground by means of rhizomes. This type of Euphorbia has many branches that tend to form a thick canopy. Some of horizontal branches can be removed to expose the trunk. Euphorbia decaryi is a small, leafy succulent with a shrub-like development and zigzag edged leaves. Leaves form apical rosettes on the stems and suggest a miniature palm tree. The stems sprawl and spread via underground stolons.

Beige, bell-shaped false flowers (cyathia) form in spring.

They are easy to cultivate Even in winter its soil should never completely dry out. Though it tolerates a dry over-wintering, in spring it needs moisture when new roots form. These plants prefer bright light, and will not demand a prime growing space. They can grow both in pots and in the ground in areas with mild climate, and they can be grown indoors. Euphorbia decaryi can survive outdoors when protected from light frost and freezing temperatures.

irregular stems bearing slender wavy edged leaves

Use very well draining loose soil and plant in a wide flat pot. Wait about two weeks after repotting to let all wounds heal then water it with warm water. Let the soil dry out between watering, very little in water when the plant is dormant. Both the stems and leaves can take on a purple color if exposed to midday sun. They don't grow as well, but they can tolerate the intense light with enough water. Give them morning and late afternoon sun and shade in the middle of the day. Water regularly but do not overwater them.

A very unusual plant

Warning: Like all Euphorbia handle with care, the latex/sap can cause skin rash or itching.

         Euphorbias: A Gardener's Guide            Euphorbia Journal volume 9

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