I picked up this little plant at the Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA) convention in Colorado Springs this year, 2023. I had not seen one before, but then it’s easy to see plants you’ve never seen before at these conventions! Vendors bring all kinds of unusual and seldom seen cactus and succulents to these events.
I was attracted to this plant, I think, because I saw it had the beginnings of a caudex, the fat part of the root that stores water. In nature, most of the caudex is usually underground, but collectors like to repot it as it grows and set the caudex above the soil it is planted in.
This pachypodium species is confined almost exclusively in the Southern and Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. It likes sunny positions in stony places and lots of water, except during its dormant period, which for us would be in our winter. I was told it would lose its leaves and to water much less during that time. It is winter here, and so far it has lost very few leaves. But winter isn’t over yet, so more may fall.
This pachypodium can grow to about three feet tall and be bushy and has paired spines at the base where the leaves come out of the stems. Look closely at the pictures above and below and you can see some of them forming. They are a part of the plant and won’t come off like some cactus spines do; this is typical of anything pointy occurring on succulent plants rather than cactus. At least that has been my experience.
I suspect my plant isn’t old enough yet to bloom the pink flowers characteristic of the species. Maybe this spring it will bloom a couple, and then I will have to share those with you in another story.
So now I will watch the caudex grow and anticipate those pink flowers which will come eventually.