Xerosicyos danguyi (Penny Plant) - An evergreen climbing and clambering succulent vine that climbs up on other plants, fences or structures up to 10-15 feet high. It has slender cylindrical gray colored stems that branch from the base and climb using slender forked tendrils. These stems are covered with alternately arranged nearly round 1-inch-wide leaves that are pea green when they emerge and mature to gray-green. Small chartreuse colored dioecious flowers (male and female on different plants) can appear in late winter to early spring - they are inconspicuous but an interesting contrast to the leaves when they appear.
Plant in full sun to part shade in a fairly well draining soil where it can be grown with very little irrigation, but it accepts more and will grow more vigorously if watered at least occasionally. It is hardy to around 25°F, so useful down to USDA Zone 9b. This is an interesting, tough, and tenacious plant that tolerates neglect and grows slowly at first but has a moderate growth rate once established, particularly if given occasional irrigation. It can grow along the ground but looks best with some support to hold the branches with the heavy load of leaves held upright but can also be grown in a pot or hanging basket or even as an indoor house plant.
Penny Plant comes from near the town of Toliara in the Atsimo-Andrefana region of southwestern Madagascar, where it grows in subarid bushland forest and dunes. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'xeros' meaning "dry" and 'sicyos' meaning cucumber in reference to this plant being a dry growing member of the cucumber family (Cucurbitaceae). The specific epithet honors the French botanist Paul A. Danguy (1862-1942). Other commons name for it includes Silver Dollar Vine or Dollar Vine.
Information about Xerosicyos danguyi displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.