Euphorbia gymnocalycioides is a very unusual plant and one of the most
remarkable of succulents.
It is among the most desirable of all "collectors' plant".
Description: It is a
great looking small succulent euphorbia
with a deep green, knobby globoid body. It bears such a striking
similarity to a genus in the cactus family,
Gymnocalycium, that it was given the epithet "gymnocalycioides"
(resembling Gymnocalycium). It is a fine example of
convergent evolution, a process in which the same adaptive traits
evolve in distantly related species or groups as a response to similar
environments (in this case, hot and dry deserts).
Stem: Fattened globular,
subglobular to shortly cylindrical, up to 12 tall x 10 cm wide,
bluish-green, that can
take a dark tan to purplish tinge in full sun,
Tubercles: Prominent, separated by deep grooves, approx 1 cm
apart, with a striking spiral arrangement in approx 18 series. Each
tubercle is tipped by a weakly horny shield up to 2,5 mm in diameter
bearing the leaves scars.
Spines: Minute only in the seedlings and on the new growth.
ephemeral and quickly
Root: 1,5 cm thick and merging into the body
around the growth centre.
The inflorescences are simple (or
consisting of three cyathia, which appear in groups of 2 to 6 on each
eye, but not all developing. Often in young plants with only the central
of the three cyathia developed. Peduncle up to 7,5 mm, cyathia 2,5 mm in
diameter, elliptic, brown, pedicel 2,5 mm.
Blooming season: Summer.
Warning: As with all other Euphorbias when a plant get damaged it
exudes a thick white milky sap known as latex. This latex is
poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, skin and
mucous membranes. So pay extreme attention not to get
any in your eyes or mouth. Cultivated plants must be handled
M. Gilbert & S. Carter
Bradleya 2:9. 1984
Ethiopia (Sidamo prov.)
Habitat: Grows on
substrata rich in limestone in a widely spaced Acacia bushland. Altitude
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
euphorbia is named for the superficial resemblance to the cactus genus
This slow-growing spherical plant has the fame to be
difficult to grow on its own roots, and is generally grafted for
Euphorbia canariensis or
Euphorbia resinifera, but it proved to grow easily from seed (
though very slowly) and it can
be treated like an average Euphorbia. The grafted specimens can
be easily degrafted by those who wish to try to grow them on their own
roots. If you remove an offset, remember to let
it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal (cutting planted to soon
easily rot before they can grow roots). It is better to wash the cut to
remove the latex. They grow well in a very draining mineral potting
substrate. Need frost protection. Sun Exposure: full sun to light
Grafting: The plants
that are grafted on a more vigorous and easier stocks are easier to
keep, grow faster and produce more flowers and seeds. The method of
grafting euphorbias differs little from that of other succulents, except
in one important aspect. The latex must be washed or sprayed off until
hardly anything remains. After the latex flow has stopped, a further 1-2
mm slice can be taken from both surfaces without a new latex flow
stock need to be at the start of the growing season. The stock
should be cut as near as possible to the growing tip, as here the
vascular bundles are dense and not yet woody and will feed the scion in
the best possible way. Where possible stock and scion should be of
similar diameter. The cut surfaces are held together with elastic bands
in cross style, over the plant top and under the pot. The plants should
be left in an airy and shady place for 7-10 days before the bands are