Euphorbia caput-medusae (Medusa’s head). Featured plant at Towerkop nursery.

Caput-medusaCaput-medusa_flower

Sprawling succulent shrublet with a rosette of warty club shaped branches arising from a short thick stem (caudex). Endemic near Cape town, South Africa found in deep sand and on rocky outcrops.

“Euphorbias are characterized by their milky latex. Stipules are usually present, often modified into prickles and spines.

Many species produce peduncles (inflorescent stalks) which persist after the cyathia (cup-shaped structures) and capsules have withered.

In some species these persistent peduncles become sharpened at the tip and become true spines.

The individual flowers, set within a cyathium, which is the basic unit of the inflorescence of euphorbia, are surrounded by a number of bracts which form a unique floral envelope or involucre.

The flowers are unisexual with the male flower reduced to a single stamen on it’s own pedicel.

Curiously there is never more than one female flower in a cyathium, whereas the male flowers are always numerous.

Capsules usually consist of three cells. the cells seperate at maturity from a persistent axis, often freeing the seed with great force.”

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