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Pachypodium namaquanum (Elephant's Trunk)


Scientific Name

Pachypodium namaquanum (Wyley ex Harv.) Welw.

Common Names

Elephant's Trunk, Club Foot, Halfmens (Afrikaans for Semi-Human)


Adenium namaquanum (basionym)

Scientific Classification

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


Pachypodium namaquanum is an usually single-stemmed, succulent plant or small tree, growing extremely slowly with stem up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and up to 8.2 feet (2.5 m) tall. The stems are cylindrical, mostly unbranched, covered with warty tubercles from which sharp spines protrude in a slightly downward direction. The leaves form a crowded rosette at the apex of the trunk. They are simple, obovate to oblong, green-grey and densely velvety on both surfaces. The flowers are tubular, red on the inside and yellow-green outside, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and up to 0.4 inch (1 cm) across at the mouth. The fruits are horn-like with twin pencil-thin tapering capsules of up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 40 °F (+4.4 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The three parameters of light, temperature and watering are closely linked: you should not change one without the other two. It is therefore important to note that the balance of these three parameters determine the good or bad health of their plant. Pachypodiums need much light because they originally grow under full sun in tropical countries. Direct sunlight is not absolutely necessary, but the sunlight should not be shielded by a natural view protection. A Pachypodium with a lack of light will wither, its branches will be weak and appear "lean" and the leaves will be too big and soft. Over time the Pachypodium will be susceptible to disease and fungus and the plant will eventually die…. – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium


Native to Namibia, South Africa (Cape Province).


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