Information

Alluaudia ascendens (Fantsiolotse)

Alluaudia ascendens (Fantsiolotse)


Scientific Name

Alluaudia ascendens (Drake) Drake

Common Names

Fantsiolotse (local name)

Synonyms

Didierea ascendens

Scientific Classification

Family: Didiereaceae
Subfamily: Didiereoideae
Genus: Alluaudia

Description

Alluaudia ascendens is a spiny succulent tree with leaves growing directly out from the trunk. Leaves are fleshy, green or reddish in full sun, heart-shaped, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Flowers are white to dull reddish and appear in clusters at the top of the stems.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Alluaudias need full sun or high interior lighting with a very well-drained soil mix and freely circulating air. The best way to water these succulents is to completely soak the soil and then let it dry out completely before you water again. If fertilizer is used, it should be diluted to 1/4 the recommended rate on the label.

These plants must be protected in the greenhouse over the winter. Established Alluaudias should tolerate temperatures around 32 °F (0 °C). During the winter months, the plants will drop all of their leaves, and no water should be given during this period.

However, if planted in the landscape, it will often drop all its leaves when it decides to take a rest. When this happens, cut down on the watering until the leaves start to appear again.

Alluaudias are propagated from cuttings taken in the spring or from seed when available.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Alluaudia.

Origin

Alluaudia ascendens is endemic to Madagascar.

Links

  • Back to genus Alluaudia
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Pachypodium

Club Foot (Pachypodium lamerei)

Pachypodium lamerei at the LA Arboretum

Pachypodium lamerei Flowers

Pachypodium lamerei Flowers

Pachypodium lamereii Seed Pods

Pachypodium lamerei is a species of flowering plant in the dogbane family Apocynaceae. It is a stem succulent, photosynthesizing mainly through its trunk, and comes from the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. It has large thorns and leaves mostly just at the top of the plant, and large, fragrant flowers. The species has become one of the best known pachypodiums in cultivation, being relatively easy to propagate and grow. In cultivation it is often marketed as the Madagascar palm, despite its not being a palm at all. A variety called “Ramosum” has been described. It is distinguished mostly by a dwarf growth habit. Pachypodium lamerei has a tall, silvery-gray trunk covered with sharp 6.25 cm spines. Long, narrow leaves grow only at the top of the trunk, like a palm tree. It rarely branches. Plants grown outdoors will reach up to 6 m (20 ft), but when grown indoors it will slowly reach 1.2–1.8 m (3.9–5.9 ft) tall. Plants grown outdoors develop large, white, fragrant flowers at the top of the plant. They rarely flower indoors.

Pachypodium geayi Pink Ribbed Leaves

Height Comparison between Alluaudia ascendens (left) Pachypodium lamerei (center) Pachypodium geayi (right)

Pachypodium geayi is a species of Pachypodium that originated in Southwest Madagascar. It has a metallic grey pachycaule trunk and the leaves are thin and grey-green, with a bright pink mid-rib. The plant has white flowers. Pachypodium geayi is one of the largest of the Madagascar species. There are about 20 species of Pachypodium. The two most common Pachypodiums in cultivation (P. lamerei and geayi) account for at least 95% of the plants in gardens. They are very similar looking trees with white flowers and not easy to distinguish until they are mature.

Pachypodium lamerei var ramosum Flowers

Pachypodium lamerei var ramosum Flowers

Pachypodium lamerei var ramosum

The Pachypodium lamerei var romosum is distinguished mostly by a dwarf growth habit with a more rounded trunk or caudex. It has also more rounded corolla lobes, gradually narrowed towards the base 4-5 cm long and has smooth leaves with no hairs. Additionally, the flowers seem to be different from the Pachypodium lamarei. This one is sort of boat shaped as you can see above.


Alluaudia ascendens (Fantsiolotse) - garden

Origin and Habitat: Southern Madagascar in the area between Tsiombe and Taolanaro (Basin of the Mandrare River.).
Habitat: It grows in dry spiny shrub forest or dry deciduous thicket. These forests are stratified and Alluaudia ascendens occur in the upper canopy mixed with other species like: Adansonia za (Baobab tree), Operculicarya decaryi, Alluaudia procera, Commiphora aprevalii, and Tetrapterocarpon geayi.

Accepted name in llifle Database:
Alluaudia ascendens (Drake) Drake
Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 9: 37 1903
Synonymy: 2

  • Alluaudia ascendens (Drake) Drake
    • Didierea ascendens Drake
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Alluaudia ascendens f. variegata hort.

Description: Alluaudia ascendens is the tallest species, reaching a maximum height of 15 metres, but it is usually far smaller. It grows initially as a single stem, but then branches forming massive ascending V-shaped crowns. This is the largest of all the Didiereacea. One can recognize this species at a distance by the inflorescences like muffs along the upper portion of the branches.
Trunk: Columnar thick but short, up to 30 cm across, sparsely branched (beginning at 2-4 m), pith lamellar. Branches few nearly vertical. The bark is dull greenish brown, reddish or greyish and resembles unwrinkled elephant skin. The stems carries blunt spines like the knobs on a mace, which circle the trunk along with the leaves, in very vertical helices.
Spines: Persistent, single, 1,5-2 cm long, conical, arranged irregularly along the stems, greyish-white.
Leaves: Short-stalked in spiralling lines, 1,3-2,5 cm long and 10 to 20 mm wide, fleshy, circular or reverse heart-shaped, notched at the apex, dark green, often tinged with purple in full sun.
Flowers: Inconspicuous (rarely seen in cultivation) dull white to reddish in cymose inflorescences up to 12 cm long. Sepals keeled.
Chromosome number: 2n = 240

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Alluaudia ascendens group

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer, 2002
2) Hilary Bradt “Madagascar” Bradt Travel Guides, 2011
3) William F. Laurance, Richard O. Bierregaard “Tropical Forest Remnants: Ecology, Management, and Conservation of Fragmented Communities” University of Chicago Press, 21/giu/1997
4) Werner Rauh, Herman Schwartz “Succulent and xerophytic plants of Madagascar” Vol. 2 Strawberry Press, 1998
5) Alfred Byrd Graf “Exotica International Series 4: Pictoral Cyclopedia of Exotic Plants from Tropical and Near-tropic Regions : a Treasury of Indoor Ornamentals for Home, the Office, Or Greenhouse : in Warm Climates the Patio and the Garden Outdoors” Roehrs, 1985
6) Alfred Byrd Graf “Tropica: Color Encyclopedia of Exotic Plants and Trees” Roehrs Company, 1986
7) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer, 2002
8) A. Jolly, P. Oberle, R. Albignac, “Key Environments: Madagascar” Elsevier, 22 gen 2016
8) Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des Séances de l’Academie des Sciences. Band 133, Paris 1901, S. 241
9) Bulletin du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle. Band 9, Paris 1903, S. 37

Cultivation and Propagation: Alluaudia ascendens is probably one of the most rare species in cultivation.
Exposure: It needs full sun or high interior lighting with a very well drained soil mix and freely circulating air.
Watering: Plants are watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again.
Fertilization: If fertilizer is used, it should be diluted to ¼ (one-quarter) the recommended rate on the label.
Hardiness: It is a frost tender species that must be protected in the greenhouse over the winter but established plants should tolerate temperatures as low as 0° C (Avoid any frost!). If grown in the home environment, the ideal temperatures should run between 20° to 30° C with winter time temperatures around 10°C. During the winter months, the plant will drop all of its leaves and no water should be given during this period.
Maintenance: Not freely branching. Once this plant is established in its new pot, it should be cut back to encourage branching. The cutting removed can be rooted easily, and the process repeated. If pruned and kept somewhat pot bound, they can be maintained at a manageable size, depending on what ''manageable size'' means to you. If planted in the landscape however, It will often drop all its leaves when it decides to take a rest. When this happens, cut down on the watering until the leaves start to appear again.
Garden uses: This is a terrific plant for those in warmer, drier areas who want something 'different' looking- maybe even a bit weird. Nothing is quite like it for adding interest to gardens, especially when plants are grown in multiples and allowed to create a mini-forest. It has some tough, sharp spines, but because of its very upright habit, is rarely a problem walking around. In Madagascar, the wood of the plant is used in building and for charcoal.
Propagation: Alluaudia ascendens is propagated from cuttings taken in the spring or from seed when available.


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Watch the video: PlantSnap identifies a Fantsiolotse Alluaudia ascendens