Cyphostemma juttae


Cissus juttae


C. juttae is native to Namibia. In its habitat the plant grows in very hot and drought conditions in rocky regions. The plant has developed several strategies to survive in the hostile habitat such as shedding leaves to resist drought and producing poisonous substances to ward off animals.


C. juttae is a succulent shrub belonging to the Vitaceae botanical family. The plant is a slow growing caudiciform succulent that can grow up to 1.8 m in height. The stem is light green and is thicker at the base and thinner at the top, covered whit a white papery bark which helps to keep the plant cool in summer. Leaves are large and long, fleshy, ovate with a toothed margin, grey-green in color with purple hues. Leaves fall off during winter. Blooming occurs during the Summer and flowers are inconspicuous, held above the foliage and of the same color as the leaves. Fruits grow in bunches and are green turning yellow or wine-colored but despite their inviting appearance they are toxic.


This is a drought resistant plant, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is direct sun-light, and the plant does not like temperatures below 5 °C so it needs to be placed indoors. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 5 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow to the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Because the plant has a climbing habit it is necessary support pole for the development of the stem.


Propagation can be done by seed or by cutting. By seed is simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with high level of humidity but germination is very slow and can take 6 to 12 months. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase success of propagation you can cut two or more offsets at the same time. For cuttings is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. Plants propagated by seed form a caudex those from cutting no.


Its name comes from the Greek words “kyphos”, which means hump, and “stemma”, which means crown. The attribute “hump” refers to its caudex, which is particularly enlarged and lumpy. “Crown”, on the other hand, are the leaves that grow on its apex in a crown-like arrangement. Some populations in southern Africa use cyphostemma juice to make poisoned arrows

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