Senecio medley-woodii


Caputia medley-woodii


Senecio medley-woodii is native to KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Provinces and Swaziland.


Senecio medley-woodii is a shrub succulent belonging to the Asteraceae botanical family. The succulent has a branched habit and can reach up to 1,8 m tall. The stem is thick, fleshy, erect and the leaves are spirally arranged around it. The leaves are large, ovate to obovate, flat, fleshy, bright green in color covered with a thick white down, which gives it a silvery appearance. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the late summer and the blossoms are borne at the apex off the stem. The showy flowers are numerous, quite small, daisy-like, bright yellow to orange in color and are carried by long stalks. The center of the flowers is darker orange. The fruits are achenes surmounted by a tuft of white hairs.


The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The plant needs a direct sun-light exposure all the year, this will help a lush flowering. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The maximum resistance to cold is 5 °C so it is recommended not to expose the plant to lower temperatures. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be a well-draining and porous soil, so you can use a standard cactus soil or a mix of fertile soil and sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 15 days; in summer it can be watered every 10 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. 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; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use leaf cuttings, but by seed also is possible. For leaf cutting you can cut some healthy leaves and plant it in a pot with sand and loam. Place the pot in a warm and bright environment and in 1-2 months the cuttings will be ready to plant. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. Propagation by seed it is not recommended for this species because it is very slow. To fast the propagation, you can try to immerse the seeds in water for 1 day. Sow the seeds in a sandy loam and keep them in warm, humid conditions.


The name “Senecio” comes from the Latin word “senex”, which means “old man”. That’s because of the tuft of white hair (pappus), sprouting off the achenes (the tiny fruits of Asteraceae, similar to seeds). The name first appeared in a writing by Pliny. The specific epithet was chosen in honor of the South African botanist John Medley Wood.

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