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Pachypodium brevicaule


Scientific Name

Pachypodium brevicaule Baker


Pachypodium brevicaule subsp. brevicaule

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Apocynoideae
Tribe: Malouetieae
Genus: Pachypodium


Pachypodium brevicaule is the smallest and probably the strangest species in the genus. The specific epithet "brevicaule" derives from the Latin "brevi", meaning "short" and "caulis", meaning "stem", giving the meaning "short-stemmed", and it is! The stem is gray, multi-branched, with short spines, up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter and up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. The branches usually evidence themselves only as lobes on the overall "blob" shape. Its leaves, which are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long and up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) wide, form loosely, compact rosettes. The flowers are tubular, bright yellow, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and appear in the summer.

Pachypodium brevicaule

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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. They are definitely not suitable for cold or damp gardens and are 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 together 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 they are 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.


Pachypodium brevicaule is native to the south central regions of Madagascar.


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