Monadenium lugardiae is a perennial, succulent plant native to Eastern Africa. Cylindrical stems will reach up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall with a stem diameter of 1-1½ inches (2.5-4 cm). The stems have rhomboidal or hexagonal tessellations (stem looking like a checker board) with two 1-2 mm spines in each tessellation. Leaves are spatulate to obovate to 4 inches (10 cm) long. The plant has a milky sap (latex) that can cause dermatitis if leaked upon the skin. This latex should be considered poisonous.
Blooming: Our plant has never bloomed.
Culture: Monadenium lugardiae need full sun to light shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part loam to 1 part peat moss. The plants are watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. We lightly fertilize only once during the growing season. Too much water and fertilizer will cause root rot. During the winter month, only water enough to keep the leaves from shriveling and dropping off.
Propagation: Monadenium lugardiae is propagated from cuttings. Stem tips from 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) long are used. After cutting, the stems are dipped in charcoal dust to seal the cut and then left to form callus for a week before inserting the cutting into the soil mix. Cuttings should root in 6-8 weeks.
Monadenium lugardiae was featured as Plant of the Week December 25, 2004-January 6, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2017 All rights reserved.