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      Euphorbia pentagona

CACTUSPEDIA       


 


Euphorbia pentagona is a beautiful species with thin finger-sized stems that tend to be 5- to 6-ribbed .
The cyathia are purplish.
 

Description: A compact perennial cactus-like shrub with prominent ribs that freely branches above and can grow 2,5- 3 m tall.
Stem: Thin columnar, erect, rebranching often in whorls, 1-4 cm thick, bright glossy green or dark green turning grey with age.
Ribs: 5-6, deeply grooved between, whit shallow tubercles.
Spines: The solitary “spines” are sterile dry peduncles up to 1,5 cm long, each with 2-3 tiny bracts, they are pinkish  and finally grey.
Leaves: Up to 4 mm long, liner and early deciduous.
Flowers: The buff-lavender to purplish
cyathia are small ( approx 4 mm in diameter) and borne at the branch tips. The are solitary or in 2-3 rayed cymes, peduncles short, often persistent. Nectar glands elliptic, separate.
Fruits: Subglobose, approx 6 mm in diameter, subsessile.

Taxonomy: E. pentagona  belongs to  the Euphorbia section 19 a large group of spiny shrubs that includes Euphorbia aggregata, enopla,  mammillaris, anoplia, ferox, heptagona, and polygona which are all similar in form.
In particular E. pentagona looks like E. enopla and  often the plant sold and labelled E. pentagona .
 

Flowers have striking dark red bracts

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Scientific name:  Euphorbia pentagona Haworth
In: Philos. Mag. Ann: Chem. 1828: 187, 1828

Origin: Eastern Cape, South Africa. Altitude 120-600 m.

Synonyms:

  • Euphorbia heptagona A. Berger

Notes:Euphorbia pentagona Royle 1836 (Nom. Illeg., art 53.1) is a very different species referable to Euphorbia royleana

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common NamePincushion Euphorbia


 

 


Cultivation: Common and relatively easy to grow plant for pot culture. It grows well in a very draining mineral potting substrate, but it isn't picky about soil.  The area where this plant is native receives rains both in winter and summer, so it can be watered moderately all year around (except in the coldest month of the winter, as it rot easily ,especially if over-wet).  During the summer, they enjoy average feeding and watering. When dormant in winter, keep it totally dry at or around 4°C, even though it seems to tolerate light frosts well. Mature healthy plants are tough and can also be grown outside where frost is not too severe, but when left out it is more sensitive to frost. They do need a lot of light to keep their compact growth-form, but different clones vary in their tolerance of full sunshine.  The plants that are not kept in full sun grow faster, but became untidy and may need support as they get larger, or branches fall off. But if grown in the protection of light shade, the thick purple spines of this low-growing clumping columnar plant have the best colour. Sometimes, in really hot full sun all day long, a plant will bleach out a bit.  It soon grows into a large, many stemmed specimen, and it can fill a 30 cm bowl.  It is also a prolific bloomer, and makes a spectacular specimen.

Propagation: It is propagated by cuttings or seeds. It branches enthusiastically, and offsets are readily available.  If you remove an offset, remember to let it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal (cuttings planted too soon easily rot before they can grow roots).  It is better to wash the cut to remove the latex. The seed can be sown just under the surface in normal seedling trays in a sandy seed mix. Germination usually occurs within 1 - 3 weeks.

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 may irritate skin.   Pay extreme attention not to get any in your eyes or mouth.
Cultivated plants must be handled carefully.

Uses:

  • The villagers use as fuel the withered stems of Euphorbia pentagona and thorny bushes.
  • It is also a common plant used for making hedges.

 


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

Photo gallery EUPHORBIA

 



 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

Encyclopedia of Succulents