Pachypodium cactipes


The name Pachypodium cactipes is a synonym of Pachypodium rosulatum subsp. cactipes. There aren’t other synonyms.


Pachypodium cactipes is native to southern Madagascar, in particular, to the northwest of Fort-Dauphin and adjacent areas. It grows on gneiss rocks, exposed to direct sunlight all the time.


Pachypodium cactipes is a shrub, up to 1 meter tall and with a diameter of 1.5 meters, with an enlarged trunk that serves as a storage for water and nutrients against drought. These enlarged organs are called, in botany, caudex, and plants equipped with them are called caudiciform. In this species, the caudex is spineless, globose to spherical in shape, brownish to grey as it ages. After the first blossoming, the caudex begins to branch and produces some ramifications with apical leaves sprouting in tufts. Leaves are deciduous and fall during the dry season. They form a rosette at the top of the branches. They are dark green.
Spines are thin and look like needles: they are reddish, conical.
Flowers are bright yellow inside and paler outside. They appear in late winter and early spring.


Here are our tips for cultivating:

Pachypodium cactipes needs plenty of light. Put it in a bright spot, close to a window.
Pachypodium cactipes should never be kept below 12 ° C. If it gets too cold, the plant will loose its foliage.
Water once every 3-4 days in spring and summer, waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. A soil too dry spoils its delicate roots: the ideal solution is to have a slightly moist soil.
Choose a specific soil for cacti, addiction of some peat to make it richer in nutrients.
Fertilize 1-2 times during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for succulent, diluting it in water at half the doses indicated in the label.
During the repotting operations, be careful to the spines and beware from the latex: it is poisonous and can have an irritant effect.


All species of the genus Pachypodium are usually propagated by seed, but it is not easy to find it in the market. Place the seed on a sandy bed and keep the soil damp at about 21 ° C.


Called “Madagascar palm” because of its origin and palm-like shape, it takes also the name of “Elephant’s Foot Plant” on account of the shape of its stems. By the same token, the name Pachypodium means “thick-footed” and is derived from the Greek “pachys” (thick) and “podium” (foot). Due to its beautiful caudex, Pachypodium cactipes is deemed one of the most attractive species in the entire genus!

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