Euphorbia tubiglans

Synonyms:

There are not synonyms for this plant

Habitat:

E. tubiglans is native to Cape Provinces, South Africa. It can be found from Central Karoo to Namaqualand. This succulent grows in hilly and rocky regions, its color allows the plant to blend into its habitat. The plant can grow in full sun and with high average temperatures, and is used to variable rainfall.

Description:

E. tubiglans is a caudiciform succulent of the Euphorbiacee botanical family. The stem is narrow and short and bears many branches. The stem is the connection between the branches and the caudex. The branches are dark blueish green in color, 8 cm tall and unbranched. The stem is arranged in 5-6 ribs made of small tubercles. Ciathya are the typical inflorescence of the Euphorbia, it is an inflorescence consisting of a cuplike cluster of modified leaves enclosing unisexual flowers. The peduncles are reddish and supported by three small bracts; glands form a tube (hence the specific name) and are red, contrasting with the white involucre lobes. This species has small ciathya normally being all male on some plants, or all female on others. Because there are male plant and female plant, cross pollination is required that is normally carried out by insect. Flower are borne at the apex of the stem along the top of the angles of the ribs. Seeds are small, rounded and light so as to favor the propagation up to a few meters away and have a more uniform spread over the territory.

Cultivation:

This plant is a slow growing succulent but quite easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best sun-exposure is direct sunlight, so you can place it outdoors. 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 should be done thoroughly: during the vegetative period you can water regularly the plant (every 7 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 very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant 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. Handle the plant carefully and wear gloves because the latex it exudes is toxic. The plant can tolerate temperatures as low as -5°C but it is better for the plant not to below 8 C°.

Propagation:

Propagation can be done by seed or cutting. By seed is not very simple to propagate the plant because the germination occurs within 2 weeks, during the spring-summer you can sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with high level of humidity. 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.

Curiosity:

Species of the Euphorbiacee family normally if are damaged, exude a white milky sap, called latex. Many plants produce latex, but in the Euphorbiacee this latex is often poisonous and may irritate skin. The poisonousness is due to some alkaloids so it is best to keep the plants away from children or pets. The species name refers to the tubular (tubi-) nectar glands (-glans) of the cyathia

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