Elephant's trunk - 5 seeds

Elephant's trunk - 5 seeds


Pachypodium namaquanum must rate as the most sought-after and popular of all large succulents from the arid Northern Cape and southern Namibia, otherwise known as the Gariep Region (Orange River region). These iconic survivors of the Richtersveld have stood the test of time and have a peculiar beauty about them, and a mysterious, almost magical side that has fascinated generations upon generations.

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Pachypodium namaquanum, the halfmens (half plant, half human), is a succulent plant that can attain a tree-like appearance when fully grown. The stem height may range between 1.5 and 2.5 m, although 4 and 5 m specimens have been observed. The stems are mostly unbranched and cylindrical but may become branched from near the base and occasionally have a few shorter branches near the apex (tip). Plants are characteristically thickset at their bases, tapering toward the apex, which gives them an unmistakable bottle-like appearance when mature. The stems are covered with warty tubercles (knob-like projections), from which spines protrude in a slightly downward direction. The spines are more abundant along the top half of the plant and decrease towards the base where tubercles are more prominent. The leaves, which are borne in rosettes (cluster of densely spirally arranged leaves arising from a central point), are simple, obovate to oblong, green-grey, and densely velvety on both surfaces. Leaf apexes are tapering or rounded, and the bases narrowly tapering. The leaf margins are entire and very wavy which is another distinctive characteristic of this succulent. Leaves are always formed in crowded rosettes near the stem apex.Pachypodium namaquanum grows easily from seed as long as the seeds are fresh and without signs of parasitism. The silky-haired parachutes are removed prior to sowing. Seeds can be sown in the summer using a mixture of river sand and sifted compost or bark at a ratio of 1:1. After germination, care should be taken not to overwater as this encourages rot and fungal infestations. Keep plants well ventilated and in good light, and dry plants out in the dormant season which is summer (October to March).

Pachypodium namaquanum can also be grown from cuttings, although success is not guaranteed. Cuttings also take an extremely long time to show active growth