Euphorbia obesa Hook.
Basketball, Basketball Plant, Baseball, Baseball Plant, Baseball Cactus, Gingham, Golf Ball, Living Baseball, Sea Urchin
Euphorbia obesa subsp. obesa, Euphorbia obesa subsp. symmetrica, Euphorbia symmetrica
This species is native to South Africa, mainly found in Great Karoo, south of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.
Euphorbia obesa is a small succulent with a ball-shaped, usually solitary stem that becomes cylindrical with age. The stem is grey-green marked with horizontal red-brown or purple bands. It grows up to 8 inches (30 cm) tall, up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, and almost always has eight slightly raised ribs. Tiny leaves fall off very soon after appearing. Male and female flowers are born on different plants. They are yellow and appear in summer on branched stalks at the top of the stem. Fruits are small, 3-angled capsules.
The specific epithet "obesa" derives from the Latin "obesus," meaning " fat, stout or plump," and refers to the fleshy rounded stem.
How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia obesa
Light: Most Euphorbias are sun lovers, but some will tolerate partial shade. Place your indoor Euphorbias on windows with southern or southeastern exposure.
Soil: Euphorbias require well-drained soil. They even thrive in poor, dry soils. Use a commercial mixture formulated for cacti and succulents, or make your own potting mix.
Hardiness: E. obesa can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
Watering: Succulent Euphorbias can survive drought, but do not mean that they need it. From spring to fall, water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Reduce watering in winter. Give them just enough water to prevent wilting.
Fertilizing: Every Euphorbia will benefit from fertilizer. Apply a balanced fertilizer in a 10-10-10 NPK formulation, diluted to 1/4 strength once a week during the growing season.
Repotting: Euphorbias do not need to be repotted every year. However, when your Euphorbia is outgrowing its pot, it is time to repot the plant in a larger pot and give it a fresh potting mix.
Propagation: Generally, E. obesa is grown from seed from a female plant pollinated from a male plant. However, if an insect damages the top of a female plant, it does sprout multiple offsets, which can be removed and propagated.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
Toxicity of Euphorbia obesa
All Euphorbias produce a toxic white milky sap and can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Therefore, it is best to keep the plants away from children and pets.
Subspecies and Forms of Euphorbia obesa
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.