Seyrigia (2014)

PhotoBy Eric Driskill (April 2014)

The French botanist and taxonomist Monique Keraudren-Aymonin specialized in the flora of Madagascar with a focus on the family of Cucurbitaceas while working at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. She established the genus Seyrigia, which belongs in the Curcurbitaceae family and has four species, all endemic to Madagascar. The four species are S. bosseri, S. gracilis, S. humbertii and S. multiflora.

The plants are dioecious (having male and female reproductive organs borne on separate individuals of the same species) with climbing, twining stems. In time, the plants develop tuberous bases/roots. Members of the genus are valued more for their unique colorful or felted stems, which are somewhat thickened and hide their chlorophyll.

Stems are either quadrangular or round. The tiny leaves are ephemeral. Flowers are only about 1/8 inch wide and whitish-yellow to greenish in color.

Seyrigias should be grown in bright light and well-drained potting mix. Very little watering should be provided during dormancy.

The species most often seen in nurseries is S. humbertii. This species is the most attractive. Stems are quadrangular and covered with dense, white interwoven hairs that give this plant its silvery sheen. Another species offered by nurseries, but much less frequently, is S. gracillis. Stems of this species are round and smooth, and have a purple mottled color that is quite attractive.

Roots of all the species can be raised for effect, but should be protected from the sun. Propagation is either from seed or stem cuttings. You may want to consider adding a trellis to your pot to allow for the plants’ tendrils to hold the stems up, making them easier to appreciate. Bright light produces plants with much tighter growth.

The World Encyclopedia of Cacti & Succulents – Anderson, Miles – 2003
Superb Succulents – Benadom, Duke – 2013
The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World – Dortort, Fred – 2011
Lexicon of Succulent Plants – Jacobsen, Hermann – 1977
Caudiciform — Rowley, Gordon – 1993