Succulent Gardening: The Art of Nature

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Euphorbia clandestina

Euphorbia clandestine (Volstruisnek) - An erect columnar spineless succulent, usually with a single 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick stem but sometimes branching, to 2 feet tall with a loose spiral arrangement of knobby tubercules and topped with a tuft of narrow 1 to 1 3/4 long turquoise colored leaves that are strongly keeled and minutely hairy. The typically green stems can turn an attractive reddish hue in winter and in spring appear the small flowers with red tinged green bracts that form at the tip of the stems between the tubercules. Plant in most any soil in full sun (best) to light shade and irrigate little to occasionally. Hardy to 25 °F with ability to handle short duration temperatures down to at least 20 °F. A nice landscape plant that is hardy and very easy to grow. Older plants need support or can be allowed to topple and run a bit along the ground. It will often set seed (even in heavy soils) and young new plants are easy to transplant. This plant is endemic to the southern Cape area of South Africa from Swellendam in the west to Uniondale in the east where it is most often found growing on rocky hills among low shrubs that help support this plant. Hermann Jacobsen listed the following localities in the Cape Province: Swellendam Div.: Hessaquas Kloof; Bonnievale; Riversdale Div.: Plattebosch; Mosselbay Div.: Great Brak River; Oudthoorn Div.: 20 km east of Oudtshoorn; Uniondale Div.; between Uniondale and Avontuur. The common name Afrikaner name of 'Volstruisnek' literally means the "neck of an ostrich", alluding to the erect, warty and cylindrical stem. The specific epithet 'clandestina', is a Latin word meaning meaning "hidden' is in reference to the sessile cyathia (flower structure) that is obscured by the leaves.
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