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Dorstenia foetida (Grendelion)

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Scientific Name

Dorstenia foetida Schweinf.

Common Names

Grendelion, Shield Flower

Synonyms

Cosaria forskahlii, Dorstenia arabica, Dorstenia crispa, Dorstenia obovata, Dorstenia phillipsiae, Dorstenia radiata, Korsaria forskahlei, Kosaria foetida, Kosaria obovata

Scientific Classification

Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Dorstenieae
Genus: Dorstenia

Description

Dorstenia foetida is a small caudex-forming succulent with thick, dark green to mahogany-colored stems and light green lanceolate leaves. It is a very variable species, especially in the size and shape of leaves and length of petioles and stipules. The caudex grows up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Flowers are small, grayish or green, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) across.

Dorstenia foetida - Grendelion

Photo via wikimedia.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Dorstenias are warm-loving plants, and they need a bit more water than regular succulents. They need a well-drained potting mix, and their water needs vary depending on the season of the year. Water regularly to abundant from spring to fall. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering, but make sure that they never dry out completely. During the winter months, these plants tend to go at least partially dormant. During this period, water very little. Giving plants a warm, sunny position can result in beautiful compact growing plants. Fertilizing plants once in a while during their growing period with a high potash and phosphorus fertilizer is recommended.

The spring weather with a high-temperature swing between the day and night hours and pretty frequent rains can favor the development of fungus diseases, which should be treated preemptively with a systemic fungicide.

Dorstenias are generally propagated by seed. Many species are self-fertile. Their seeds are expelled explosively from the mature seed heads and liable to populate pots several feet away. They can also be propagated by cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Dorstenia.

Origin

Endemic to Arabia and Ethiopia.

Links

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