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Pachypodium rosulatum (Elephant's Foot Plant)


Scientific Name

Pachypodium rosulatum Baker

Common Names

Elephant's Foot Plant, Cactus Pachypodium


Pachypodium rosulatum subsp. rosulatum, Pachypodium drakei

Scientific Classification

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


Pachypodium rosulatum is a shrubby, perennial, caudiciform plant with a bottle-shaped trunk, brownish-silver and almost spineless, up to 14 inches (35 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide. From the caudex depart many thorny, cylindrical arms, forming a shrub up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall. The leaves, which fall in the dry season, form a rosette on the top of branches. They are deciduous, dark green, oblanceolate, ovate or elliptical and petiolated. The long-stalked flowers are sulfur-yellow and form an inflorescence up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall.


USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °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.

The temperature can be very high, as in the habitats in Madagascar and South Africa in the summer. The minimum temperature is much more impotant for growing Pachypodiums because it triggers the rest. For most types of Pachypodiums the minimum temperature is about 55° F (13° C) , but it depends very much on the moisture of the substrate. The drier the substrate, the lower temperatures are possible. Ideally you shouldn't fall below a minimum temperature of 59° F (15° C) during the rest period… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium


It is native to Madagascar.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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