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  Pachypodium rosulatum CACTUS ART

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Pachypodium rosulatum
This species has short and thick succulent caudex branching into cylindrical arms with stout spines, and topped by a rosette of narrow oblanceolate leaves, and long-stalked sulphur-yellow flowers.

Description: It is a wide spread and variable shrubby caudiciform species with several recognized forms and variety. It has (usually) the classic bottle-shaped trunk and is heavily thorned like most other pachypodiums.
Stem: The base (caudex) is smooth or with leaf scars, greenish silver, mostly spineless, bottle shaped and becomes quite swollen (10-15 cm wide and 25-30 cm tall) It develops stout forked branching mostly upright with some branching occurring from the lower base. Braches 9-12 cm in diameter, branchlets, often thin pale-brown and pubescent at the apex. The cylindrical "arms" are covered with stout paired conical spines, crown up to 3 x 2 m. Branching occurs where the plant has flowered.
Leaves: Petiolate (petiole 1-10 mm long) narrow oblanceolate, ovate or elliptical, cuneate at the base and dark green with a bit of a glossy look on the upper face, pubescent, coriaceous, deciduos. The leaves have a lighter middle vein and form a rosette around the tips of branches.
Flowers: The type plant has vivid yellow, oddly shaped , no scented flowers in clusters on long peduncles towards the top of the stems. The blooms can exceed 7 cm in diameter and are very attractive.
Blooming season: Blooms when young from February 'til May , even small 1 or 2 year old plants may flower.

Pachypodium cactipes may merely represent a southerly form of the Pachypodium rosulatum complex but for now it is preferred to recognize it as a distinct species until further research clarifies its affinities. Its rich green glossy foliage, showy yellow flowers and ease of culture make it one of the more rewarding of the genus.

Pachypodium rosulatum is one of the most widely cultivated of the species and of relatively easy culture. It presents little difficulty if compared to other member of the genus, but it is anyway prone to rot if allowed to get too wet in winter or if cultivated under less than ideal conditions and care. It is moderate grower, but an impressive specimen with a big caudex can be made fast. Water sparingly in summer and give extra well-drained soil to avoid waterlogged conditions, no water from November to March. The watering program will change depending on temperatures and stage of growth, but it is best not to let this plant dry out completely for any length of time. It is sensitive to cold and should be kept  totally dry in winter at or around 4░C. Protect from frost. It tends to lose its leave and go dormant in winter.  It like full sun to light shade .

Reproduction: Seeds. Seedlings grow fairly slowly compared to other Pachypodium species. Young plants have more conical spines and begin early to swell nicely, branch and even flower.



Family: Apocynaceae

Scientific name:  Pachypodium rosulatum Baker
in Journ. Bot. 20: 219 (1882)

OriginMadagascar. Pachypodium rosulatum was the first of the Malagasy species to be. described. It is widely distributed on the central plateau.

Habitat: Usually found in sunny positions on stony places where they are associated with other representatives of the flora of dry areas. This species can tolerate subzero temperatures in its natural environment in winter. They are found in xeric habitats and are naturally well adapted to the hot and dry environment in which they grow. The succulent stems act as water stores and enable the plants to survive the harshest conditions. The thick tuberous underground stems also help the plants to survive long periods without water. They can therefore withstand intense heat and long periods of drought.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Elephant's Foot Plant


  • Pachypodium cactipes K. Schum. 1895.
  • Pachypodium drakei Costantin & Bois
    In: Ann.Sc. Nat. sÚr. 9,6:319 1907.
  • Pachypodium rosulatum drakei (Costantin & Bois ) Marckgr.
    In: Adansonia sÚr. 2, 12: 590 1972


This is one of the most beautiful blooming succulents that has become an anchor plant in many collections and has always been prized by collectors.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Pachypodium rosulatus complex (This Taxon has several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery PACHYPODIUM

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Encyclopaedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.