Pachypodium bispinosum A.DC.
Belonites bispinosa, Echites bispinosa, Pachypodium glabrum
Pachypodium bispinosum is a succulent shrublet with a large tuberous stem partially buried beneath the soil. The tuber is up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. Thick bonsai-like branches sprout from the top of the stem. They are lined with paired, straight, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long spines. Leaves are narrow, dark green, scattered or in tufts along the branches. From spring to summer, the plant bears a few purple to pink flowers in clusters at the tips of the branches. They are bell-shaped and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter. When not in flower, it is indistinguishable from Pachypodium succulentum, a species it overlaps in its natural range.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
The attractive flowers of Pachypodiums and the intriguing shapes of their swollen stems make them desirable for any garden. However, they are not suitable for cold or damp gardens and are very sensitive to frost. Therefore, if planted in a sunny garden that experiences occasional frost, they should be given a warm, sheltered position.
They make good accent plants in a rock garden, especially when grouped with other caudiciform succulent plants. All need full sun, lots of water (except during the dormant phase), and must have good drainage.
Almost all species are surprisingly adaptable to cultivation, changing their growing season when grown in the northern hemisphere.
These plants like ample light and grow best in full sun. Partial shade is tolerated but may discourage flowering. When grown in a glasshouse, ventilation is important. Ample water is required during the growing season, depending on the species and the size of the specimen. Allow the soil to dry out before adding more water.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium.
This species is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape). In its native range, it can be found in stony places, growing among the dry succulent scrub.
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