Euphorbia kondoi (2008)

PhotoBy Gerry Patton (February 2008)

The responsibility of receiving the first specimen plant in the society’s new education program reminds me a little of the sixth-grader who takes home the class hamster for the summer. It’ll be fun, but it comes with a certain amount of trepidation. So I’ve done my research and we’ll see how it goes.

The Euphorbia kondoi is endemic to Madagascar and considered a critically endangered species. It is found in the southwestern portion of the island near Tulear, growing in well-drained soil with little water and full sun. Described and named in 1989 by Rauh and Razafindratsira, it is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family.

E. kondoi seems well adapted to tolerate drought conditions. It has a caudex with slender, very spiny branches, and in nature a shrublike appearance that reaches a height of approximately 1 meter. Photos indicate that it should be sparsely covered with small, slightly pointed, oval-shaped leaves. The flowers, found along the branches, are small and lemon-yellow with some hints of green and red.

These attributes I’ll have to see for myself, as my specimen, many of you will remember, doesn’t show any indication of anyone being at home. I’m attempting to care for it in the same manner that I’ve used for my E. hofstaettei, which has a very similar appearance and is found in the same area of Madagascar. Both plants are currently dormant and will receive sparse water until signs of growth appear in the spring.