ISI 2010-20. Euphorbia cryptospinosa P. R. O. Bally

The pencil-thin branches of this East African euphorbia bear hidden or cryptic spines, hence the name. These spines are very fine, appressed to the stem, borne only in new growth; the plant may thus appear to be spineless. Thorn-shields are united and continuous, turn dark brown with age and, as the stem diameter increases, expose the contrasting green grooves between them, giving the stems an elegant, pin-striped appearance. In late summer and fall a bright red cyathium is produced at each axil of the newer growth, creating a charming display of spiraling inflorescences. In nature this species can form a shrub to nearly 10' tall and scrambles up surrounding vegetation. With a little pruning it can be maintained as an airy shrub of more manageable proportions. It appears that only one clone is cultivated to any extent and not commonly at that. Therefore, we offer rooted cuts of HBG 42000, originally introduced as ISI 808 in 1973, a collection made by Werner Rauh (Ke #2) at Voi, some 250 miles from Mombasa on the road to Nairobi, Kenya. $7.

Photo © 2010 by Karen Zimmerman. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 82 (2), March - April, 2010