Crazy Cactus - To VAS

Fri Sep 3 13:36:37 EST 1993

To: "VAS" on bionet.plants

RE: "Crazy Cactus"
FROM:  Dr. Robert S. Wallace, Internet s1.rsw at

In all liklihood, your "cactus" isn't a cactus if it has "leaves".
If there are true leaves (and most likely has a milky sap when cut
or damaged), what you have is a plant of any number of species of
Euphorbia.  If the spines are paired at each "ridge" of the stem,
and there are leaves arising from above or below the spine-pair, it
is NOT a cactus.

     The plant's behavior of putting out roots from the smooth side
surfaces of the stem may be a reflection of "suboptimal" soil
and/or watering conditions.  Regardless, it might be a good move to
repot the plant.  This is assuming that growth continues at the apex
of the plant, particularly with elongation and production of new
leaves.  Use a good quality, well-drained potting soil for cacti.

     If the plant is actually a cactus (where it will NOT have true
leaves) it is likely that it is a member of Tribe Hylocereeae, any
one of at least a hundred epiphytic cacti native to central and
south america.  This group does regularly put out adventitious roots
from within the stem area, however that majority (if not all) of
these plants are trailing, pendant forms, suitable for basket
cultivation, not especially well adapted to windowsills.

     If you would provide a better estimation of what the identity
of the plant is, one would be able to offer more detailed advice for
cultivation.  I hope this helps.  You may e-mail further enquiries
to s1.rsw at [cactus/succulent info only].


Dr. Roberft S. Wallace
Dept. of Botany
Iowa State University

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