Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Euphorbia or Begonia?

This colorful leafy succulent is popular in any sizeable succulent collection. It is probably the closest begonia look alike for a euphorbia species. Euphorbia francoisii is found in under shade from sandy Alluaudia-Didierea thorn forest of southern Madagascar. It is vegetatively allied to Euphorbia decaryi, E. cap-saintmariensis, E. cylindrifolia and E. ambovombensis from the same area. If the plant is seed-grown, there would be a slight basal swelling known as a caudex. The beautiful white-marbled specks, red-hues and veination on the leaves vary from one clone to another. The leaves are very variable and even on the same plant, it is highly dependent on the intensity and the amount of light. Lower leaves being shielded from strong light maybe deep green with little marbling. Generally speaking, high light intensity encourages more white-marbled specks and brings out red hues.

This clone in the photograph below may be a form of E. francoisii v. crassifcaulis 'rubra' with bigger leaves, strong wavy margins and pink veination.
Under equatorial conditions, i learn the hard way after killing cuttings or part of a specimen that it enjoys some shade and will appreciate heat relief under shade when the mercury hits the 35°C or more. Limpy leaves are signs of heat stress or dryness. Caution...if the leaves do not regain turgidness after watering, it maybe under severe heat stress and should be move to a shadier spot for observation and careful watering!

No comments: