Cyphostemma currorii (Hook.f.) Desc.
Butter Tree, Cobas Tree
Cissus currorii, Cissus gastropus, Vitis currorii
Cyphostemma currorii is a slow-growing, deciduous succulent shrub or small tree with a thick trunk with a yellowish to orange bark, peeling off in paper-like flakes to expose a greenish underbark. It resembles a dwarf Baobab and most often reaches about 10 feet (3 m) in height but can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall. The leaves are large, fleshy, and arranged in groups of threes at the tips of the branches. The plant goes dormant in the winter and loses its leaves.
The small, cream-colored flowers and bright-green fruits are borne on long stalks in summer.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Wild Grape is a very sought-after plant for the garden, as are other caudiciform plants such as Baobabs, Adeniums, and Tylecodons. They make superb container or open garden subjects in and around the garden, especially around swimming pools and courtyards. Because this species grows mainly in the summer, plants must be kept dry during the colder winter months. They are ideal accent plants for a rockery or may be planted in a large container on a sunny protected patio.
The Wild Grape fares best in loamy or sandy soil with optimal drainage. Plenty of river sand and general compost will greatly improve drainage in heavy clay soils. Soil quality can also be improved dramatically by lightly working some bone meal into the soil. Although smelly, the effect on soils is quite remarkable. As a rule of thumb, use only organic products, such as those based on seaweed extract, especially if plants are fed regularly. Organic products won't burn or damage plants.
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