The declining pine-cone plant

The declining pine-cone plant

The declining pine-cone plant - Southern Africa : The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers are on the lookout for the declining Euphorbia bupleurifolia. This dwarf succulent free of spines is threatened due to over harvesting for medicinal purposes. The milky substance produced by the Euphorbia

The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers are on the lookout for the declining Euphorbia bupleurifolia. This dwarf succulent free of spines is threatened due to over harvesting for medicinal purposes. The milky substance produced by the Euphorbia bupleurifolia is extremely toxic however when used in the correct dosages, can aid with relief from cancer lesions and several skin conditions. The plant which looks similar to cycads is known to have a distributional range from Grahamstown to Pietermaritzburg. The main stem of the plant grows to c. 70 mm long and is covered with wart-like protuberances. The stem itself resembles a pine cone, for this reason some refer to the plant as the pine-cone plant. Many small tubers are c. 3 mm and compacted in several coils with leave scars evident at the top. The leaves of the plant are c. 600 mm long and 20 mm wide. The leaves are deciduous and grouped at the apex of the main stem, varying from spatula-shaped to narrowly ovate and tapering to a point at the apex. The inflorescence is produced with many small yellow false flowers (cyathia) c. 5 mm. False flowers are a distinct characteristic of the genus Euphorbia. The false flowers emerge from peduncles that develop on the axils of the small tubers. The peduncles are c. 30 mm long with short hairs. c. 2 bracts, c. 10 mm long and 20 mm wide, circular to kidney-shaped, blunt with a short projecting tip at the apex enclosing the cup-like involucre, smooth without hairs but with short hairs at the base. Bracts are green progressing to become reddish with age. The involucre has c. 5 secretory glands and c.5 lobes that are partially four sided and have slits that give the impression of many lobules. The secretory glands are c. 2.5 mm in diameter and 2-lipped. The ovary projects onto a pedicle with short fine hairs and the style joins to form a single stalk c. 3 mm long. The unattached part of the style is c. 2 mm long and divided at the tip into two equal parts. If you have seen this plant, please upload you observations onto iSpot.

14 Oct 2015
Kaveesha