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Products > Alluaudia procera
 
Alluaudia procera - Madagascan Ocotillo
   

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Didiereaceae
Origin: Madagascar
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 15-25 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Alluaudia procera (Madagascan Ocotillo) An unusual succulent tree with paired 1/2 inch long rounded succulent leaves and grey spines that sprout up along the mostly unbranched upright, stout, whitish-gray stems. The leaves and spines alternate along longitudinal lines which, near the tips, have shallow channels between the lines but on older stems the channels spread flat so the lines of leaves and spines are more widely spaced. Plants in cultivation can, but rarely, flower with the tiny male or female (plants are dioecious) greenish-yellow flowers in open thyrses at the tips of the branches being interesting, but not particularly attractive. Plant in full sun in a very well-drained soil and water regularly to occasionally, only while plants are in leaf. In our climate this plant is deciduous in winter though in its natural habitat this plant is drought deciduous. Keeping plants in smaller pots is advisable to keep soils from being over saturated, especially in winter when it is leafless and the weather cooler. We have had plants in our collection undamaged in our January 2007 week of multiple cold nights down to 25F. The Living Desert Zoo and Botanic Garden has a great Madagascar plant collection and they note that while younger plants are more susceptible, the thicker stems of older specimens of Alluaudia procera have tolerated temperatures undamaged to 20F. Some call this the Madagascar Ocotillo and in many ways it does resemble the North American Coach whip or Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) but the similarities are due to convergent evolution as these two plants are not even remotely related. Alluaudia is in the Didiereaceae, a family endemic to Madagascar that is in the Order Caryophyllales while Fouquieria is in the Fouquieriaceae, a family endemic to North America, and in the Order Ericales. In its native habitat in the spiny forests of Southwestern Madagascar this plant can reach to 60 feet tall but 25 foot specimens are among the largest typically seen in California gardens. It is an unusual and attractive addition to any dry garden and can be kept for extended periods in a container. This plant has a conservation status of "Near Threatened" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List meaning that while it does not currently qualify for the threatened status, it may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future. It is also listed on Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Our plants are cutting grown from stock received from Stockton succulent collector Alice Waidhofer and Santa Barbara plantsman Bruce Van Dyke, who is pictured with his tall (and flowering specimen) on our 2nd image.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Alluaudia procera.
 
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