Sunday, June 22, 2008

Three Green Thumbs


Dorstenia foetida
, an odd caudiform from Northern Africa, has a green flowering structure called a hypanthodium. The tiny flowers come out of the hypanthodium (the yellow dots in the center portion of the hypanthodium are the flowers.) As the seeds ripen, they are ejected from the flower with such force that they can land up to five feet away from the plant. The only way to reproduce this plant is by seed, so if seed collection is important, the best way to be sure and retain the seed is to bag the flowering structure.


I keep this caudiform in the house all year so I can mist it occasionally, as it needs higher humidity than we have outdoors. It needs regular water during its growing season, and I give this plant diluted fertilizer once during the spring and summer. It must be protected from frost. Actually, it is better suited to USDA Zones 10-11. D. foetida is dormant in winter, and may lose its leaves during the dormant period. Very little water is necessary during this time.





My three plants are still small, but will eventually grow to 12 inches tall. The trunks of these plants are the typical swollen structures of caudiform. (They look like green thumbs--so they are especially appropriate to write about today!) Interestingly, D. foetida is a member of the Moraceae family, the same family as edible fig.

13 comments:

Hootin' Anni said...

That is one very interesting plant. I've learned a lot from you today. Some excellent horticulture in your blog.

[I lived in Arizona, Tucson to be exact, for over ten years...I just know how hot ---and humid during the monsoon season--- it can get.]


My G T S is shared.

Teena in Toronto said...

What a freaky but cool plant! Ha!

Mine is up :)

sisah said...

Seems to be an interesting plant. As I have have some caudicoforme succulents, Dorstenia seems a new one for my window-sill. But 12 inches ..what is this in centmeters, I´ll find out!
Have a nice GTS
Sisah

Muum said...

I haven't seen this one before, either - shades of Jumanji! The hottest place I've ever lived is Sacramento, and we ran from a/c vehicles to a/c homes, etc. I read your post about Arizona summers, and I think I"ll keep Utah snow AND Utah summers (dry heat, mostly 80's ) I think the heat would do me in!

Dee said...

What a cool looking plant- They really do look like green thumbs!

Cheryl said...

What a strange looking plant....interesting.....but not quite sure how I feel about it at the moment......tks for showing.

kml said...

It looks like a totally different plant coming out of the top of it. Neat!!

Julie said...

I want one of these!!! COOL!!!

Claude said...

really a fascinating plant... the leaves remind me of an African Violet... and the bloom is straight from another planet! I've never been bitten by the caudiform bug, but this guy might do it...

kate smudges said...

I'd love to watch the seed forcibly ejected from the seedheads. What an interesting-looking plant. The caudiforms do resemble green thumbs!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

You always teach us such great things about plants we've often never seen. Happy GTS.~~Dee

nikkipolani said...

The "thumbs" remind me of plumeria canes!

Julie said...

How is your Dorstenia foetida doing this far into summer? Any new growth???