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08 April 2015

Medusa Plants

The so-called Medusa plants are members of the Euphorbiaceae family--an incredibly diverse group that ranges from weird to weirdest. There are many species loosely categorized as Medusa--they have funky arms growing out of a thick trunk. From above, the center of the plant looks like the gaping maw of the Shai Hulud. Don't walk to the beat, children.

In Zone 7, I grow my Euphorbia gorgonis in pure pumice. with no winter rest. That is, it stays in the plant box under 14 hours of artificial light (T5HOs) because I do not want it to lose it's form from too little light. For such a slow grower, it responds surprisingly fast when watered. The color changes ever so slightly and looks more alive. This is how you will know how much and how often to water it. In this case, it gets watered once every ten days or so--this is a lot for a succulent.
It is the change in temperature that will trigger the bloom cycle, though. I was germinating a pot of mesemb seeds in that box so the heating mat was switched on and E. gorgonis started to get all excited by the sudden warmth.
The flowers are unusual, most definitely adapted to whatever creature pollinates it in the wild.
In the tropical Zone 14--a zone we just generally made up--Knitty Kitty is growing a Euphorbia flanaganii, a slightly different species with longer, more slender arms. She grows it in a substrate of perlite and rice hull, exposed to the full, punishing sun of the tropics. Hers gets watered weekly and blooms profusely. So far, no seeds.
We thought at first that this was a Euphorbia flanaganii but it turned out on closer examination to be E. gorgonis. This one is growing in Knitty Kitty's tropics--stout, red-tipped from the sun and arms vertical.
E. gorgonis cuttings being rooted. This is Knitty Kitty's on-going experiment and we will post about the results later if and when it succeeds.
Knitty Kitty's new arrival, from Lolo's farm in Cavite, Philippines, looking etiolated at the tips. Possibly an E. flanaganii. Or maybe it just grows that way and it's something else.

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