Xerosicyos danguyi - Cucurbitaceae

Xerosicyos danguyi

Xerosicyos danguyi is a caudiciform, tendril climbing liana native to southwestern Madagascar. It has orbicular grey-green leaves to 1.5 inches (4.3 cm) long and 1/4 inch (7 mm) thick. Leaves are flat on the upper surface and convex on the lower surface. Each leaf is located opposite to a long tendril. The cylindrical main stem will reach 20 inches (50 cm) tall before it branches. The vines need support on which to climb. Our plant at 10 years old has attained a height of 12 feet (~2 m). They are of easy culture and are hardy in USDA zones 9-11.

Blooming: In the greenhouse, our plants bloom in early spring. The small 1/4 inch (7 mm) yellowish-green flowers are borne in the leaf axils with as many as 30 flowers per umbel. The plants are dioecious, and male and female flowers are on separate plants. Unfortunately, we have only a male plant. When in bloom they can be very showy.

Culture: Xerosicyos danguyi need warm to hot temperatures and at least 4 hours of full sun per day with a well-drained soil. We use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand with small gravel added to increase drainage. During the growing season, the plants are well watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. They should be fertilized only once during this period. During the winter months, the plants are kept at a temperature of around 48°F (9°C) and are watered only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.

Propagation: Xerosicyos danguyi are propagated from cuttings or by seed in spring. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days at 70°F (21°C). Plants grown from seed will form a caudex; plants grown from cuttings will not.

Xerosicyos danguyi was featured as Plant of the Week February 24-March 2, 2006.

Xerosicyos danguyi was previously featured in vegetative form July 27-August 2, 2001.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically 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. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.