Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata
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Euphorbia flanaganii N.E.Br. is the correct and accepted name of this species of Euphorbia. It was first described by Nicholas Edward Brown in Flora Capensis in 1915.
The genus, Euphorbia L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 1.980 accepted species in the Euphorbia genus (as of 11-27-18 when this page was updated. Last time I checked there were 2,004). Version 1.1 of The Plant List named 2,046 species in 2013 (plus an additional 144 accepted infraspecific names), 3,522 synonyms of species rank (plus 1,592 infraspecific synonyms), and 94 unresolved names. The Plant List is now unmaintained but it is still a great source of information. You can compare it with current statistics to see progress. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) lists 5,401 names but most are synonyms. I am not going to go down the list and count all the accepted names. WCSP is also a Kew venture.
I bought my Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata from Lowe’s on April 20, 2013. This species is very fast growing for sure and it soon started growing branches in every direction. The common name for the species is Medusa Plant or Medusa Head because of it’s snake-like arms which resemble locks of hair. The central stem merges into roots forming a caudex ( or tuberous body) with branches coming from it, which is an example of a Fibonacci spiral. There are two types of the cristata form, branch cristation and caudex cristation. I think mine is the branch cristation, and it seems to be the most common in the trade. Keep in mind this is not a cactus. It is a succulent. Well, cactus are succulents but succulents are not cactus.
Euphorbia flanaganii prefers a sunny spot but will go OK in some shade. They like fairly dry, even in the summer during the summer and very little in the winter. I put mine on the windowsill in the kitchen along with several other succulents. Mom, who was 83 at the time, thought they should be watered almost every day and I was continuously emptying water from the saucers… But, that was OK…
Origin: The species is from South Africa but the cristata form can appear in nature or in cultivation.
Light: Sun to light shade. They like the sun, but if you have kept them inside over winter, you need to introduce them to the sun gradually or they will burn.
Soil: Needs a fast draining mix with extra grit & pumice or perlite.
Water: They don’t seem to like a lot of water, even during their growing period and barely during the cooler months. Euphorbia are winter dormant.
Flowers: Chartreuse flowers appear in the spring if you are lucky. I think mutations seldom, if ever, flower.
I hope you enjoyed my tribute to the Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata. I enjoyed growing this plant because you just never knew what it was going to do next. Being on the kitchen windowsill it received a good amount of morning sun which wasn’t enough. I didn’t put it outside because I started having a problem with crickets and I didn’t want them to nibble on it like they did many of my other cactus and succulents.
Unfortunately, this plant eventually rotted and died but someday I will run across another Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata. I also want a “normal” Euphorbia flanaganii.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.