Succulent Gardening: The Art of Nature

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Euphorbia millottii

This is one of my favorite euphorbias. Granted it looses it's leaves in winter. Euphorbia millotii grows only in the vicinity of the coastal Lac Bleu, near Vohemar, south of Iharana, northeastern Madagascar. Coastal forest and coastal shrubland. Euphorbia millotii, grows mainly in sandy soils in the shade of dense, windshorn bush. Its habitat is highly threatened by human activities, habitat degradation, fire, habitat clearing for charcoal. It is also collectied for the horticultural trade, increasing the threat of extinction in the wild. Euphorbia millotii is a unique charming succulent scrublets up to 80 cm tall with round, initially greenish red, later grey, lignified branches. The cyathia (flowers) are nodding, encircled by the ample, dark, wine-colored cyathophylls, which unfold only slightly. The foliage, which appears after the bloom is green with rich purple, undersides at first.  Derivation of specific name: This plant is named for the French zoologist Prof. Millot.  Stems: Richly branched from the base, rebranching above. Branches cylindrical, decumbent reddish-green when young, but covered with a silvergray splitted cork-mantle with age and covered with large half-moon-shaped leaf-scars of the deciduous leaves.  Leaves: In tufts at the stem-apex. Blade lanceolate-obovate, 6-12 cm long, and 3 cm across, acuminate, green above, purple-red beneath. Petiole red, to 8-12 mm long. Stipules reduced to minute, scarcely visible, bristles.  Inflorescences (cymes): Simple in the leafless branches in subterminal position and are dichasias with mostly 2, short petiolated cyathia. Peduncles to 5 mm long, pendent.   Flowers (cyathia): Small pendent and enveloped by a cup-shaped pair of pale-red to green bracts (cyathophylls) approx 8 mm long and 10 across, reddish, short acuminate completely covering the cyathia. Nectar-glands saucer-shaped, yellow-green. Ovary subsessile.  Similar species: Euphorbia millotii is closely related to Euphorbia ankarensis. It has the same type of inflorescences with hanging, bell-shaped cyathia and cyathophylls, but its stems are densely branched from the base. It is also similat to Euphorbia lophogona but more branched, branches cylindric, without the ridges of spiny stipule.
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