Pachypodium brevicaule Baker
Pachypodium brevicaule subsp. brevicaule
The specific epithet "brevicaule (brev-ee-KAW-lee)" means "short stem" and refers to the very short stem of this species.
Pachypodium brevicaule is native to the south-central regions of Madagascar. It grows in open, deciduous forests in full sun on sandstone, rarely on granite, in crevices between quartzite outcrops.
Pachypodium brevicaule is an odd-looking succulent with a gray bulbous multi-branched stem, short spines, and tiny branch nubs that sprout thin green leaves. It is the smallest and probably the strangest species in the genus. The stem is up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Branches usually evidence themselves only as lobes on the overall blob shape. Leaves form loosely compact rosettes, fall off during winter dormancy, and re-sprout in spring. They are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long and 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide.
The flowers are tubular, bright yellow, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, and appear in the summer.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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 unsuitable for cold or damp gardens and very sensitive to frost. If planted in a warm 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. Depending on the species and specimen size, abundant water is required during the growing season. Allow the soil to dry out before adding more water.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium.
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