San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JUNE

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Alluaudia procera
Alluaudia procera - Madagascan Ocotillo
Image of Alluaudia procera
[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 upright succulent shrub with paired 1/2-inch-long rounded succulent leaves and grey spines that sprout up along the mostly unbranched and mostly upright, stout, whitish-gray stems - some stems occasionally fork off in a pendulous direction before curving back upwards and the lower stems of large older plants can be smooth and devoid of spines. 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. It is an unusual and attractive addition to any dry garden and can be kept for extended periods in a container.

Alluaudia procera is commonly called Madagascar Ocotillo in the US 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 and Africa that is in the Order Caryophyllales while Fouquieria is in the Fouquieriaceae, a family endemic to North America, and in the Order Ericales. Alluaudia procera's native habitat is the spiny thicket forests of Southwestern Madagascar, where it is commonly called "fantshiholitra" which translates from the Malagasy language as "the tree with the spiny bark". In its native habitat this plant can reach to 60 feet tall but 25-foot-tall specimens are among the largest typically seen in California gardens. 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 information about Alluaudia procera displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.