Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dead Leaf Euphorbia

I have this beautiful pot of Euphorbia decaryi var. spirosticha placed strategically near the door to my house. But beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; a Chinese New Year visitor once asked, "why're you keeping a rotten pile of dead leaves?" Well... i was too upset to correct her. Wait until she got caustic sap white from this plant on her hands, she would realize that it is far from dead.
Surely, if the visitor had looked closer... she would have seen the fresh green new growth! This cryptic mat forming plant is one of my all time favourite Euphorbia. Even if you start off with a cutting or underground stolon or stem with age it forms a mat with new stems spreading out from the center.
E. decaryi comes from the Didierea-Alluaudia forest in Southern Madagascar. It is one of the few Euphorbias with the distinction of being under CITES Appendix 1*. By definition, it is a very endangered and rare species. However, it proves to be very easy and amendable in cultivation and E. decaryi var spirosticha is probably one of the common succulents propagated for sale in nurseries. The type - E. decaryi v decaryi being less attractive is less common in cultivation.

Both varieties are very easy to raise in Singapore - if they are given good bright light and sheltered from rain. They can grow in any mix provided that mix dries out well in between watering. Strong light brings out the brown hues and shade encourages lush green leaves.

*Appendix 1 includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

1 comment:

Julie said...

So may of these beautiful plants are very hard to come by where I am in the U.S. Dead Leaf Euphorb is surely deceiving!