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Uncarina decaryi (Succulent Sesame)


Scientific Name

Uncarina decaryi Humbert ex Ihlenf.

Common Names

Succulent Sesame, Mouse Trap Tree

Scientific Classification

Family: Pedaliaceae
Genus: Uncarina


Uncarina decaryi is a deciduous shrub or small caudiciform tree that starts with a nice caudex covered with grayish-ochre bark and ends up with a slightly choppy stem. It grows up to 25 feet (7.6 m) tall. Leaves are green, finely hairy, triangular, and up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long. Flowers are bright yellow with maroon to black throat.


USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

Uncarina decaryi - Succulent Sesame Mouse Trap Tree

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How to Grow and Care

One reason that Uncarinas are not common in cultivation is that the seed does not germinate easily. Why this is, we do not know. Propagation by cuttings is not a substitute because they do not root easily either. In short: a difficult sort to propagate. But, once you have managed to get yourself one, it is relatively easy to grow.

Uncarinas need plenty of warmth and plenty of water in the growing season but keep them dry in the winter. They can grow up to 13 feet (4 m) in the wild, but do not expect that in your greenhouse or window sill. Uncarinas are tender, cannot endure temperatures below 35 2° F (2° C). If grown outdoors, they will probably grow back from roots if frozen. They are quite heat-tolerant. Uncarina needs rich, very well-drained potting soil. Use diluted fertilizer on young plants to speed up growth.

Uncarina blooms easily, and when covered with flowers, it is a striking vision. The seed capsules feature small hooked harpoons. See more at How to Grow and Care for Uncarina.


Native to Madagascar.


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