Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Random plant event: Pachypodium geayi lamerei

My Pachypodium lamerei (which I've been thinking was a P. geayi for years, but apparently not) has responded well to the fertilizer this spring. It's retained its leaves longer, and put on more vertical growth, than in previous years. The leaf tips still scorch, which I'm thinking is probably a signal that it's too hot or too dry (?), but aside from that, it looks pretty healthy and happy. I noticed on Friday while watering that it's even growing a new side branch (circled above).

I was slightly shocked when I checked the spreadsheets and found out that I've had this plant for a little over four years now. I got it at Wal-Mart in May 2007 for 53 cents, though it was tagged $3.97. Never did figure out what happened there, but it's probably the best plant-related 53 cents I've ever spent.


Andrea said...

Hello Mr Subjunctive, i've been here before but forgot about it till now again. I re-read your profile intro and amused again. It really is very entertaining. About the post, i dont know this plant but it looks like the Euphorbia milii, which we have here. Are those spines hard which can inflict such pain when one's not cautious?

Matti said...

Nice side branch action, and what a score. Matti

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's P. geayi? It looks green and hairless, like P. lamerei.
I've never seen them branching like that either, at leave not until they start flowering!

mr_subjunctive said...


Yes, the spines are hard, sharp, and somewhat dangerous.


Not 100% sure, no, but I was fairly sure that the batch of plants we had at work when I was there were geayi because the midribs turned peach in the sun, and this plant looked enough like those that I figured it was probably the same thing. My world would not be ended if I found out it was lamerei, but aside from the midrib changing color, I don't know any reliable way to tell the difference, and my plant has never been in bright enough light that it would have changed color.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why lamerei and geayi are so often confused - the two plants are really distinct. Lamerei has bright green leaves and the leaves are lanceolate (wider at the end). It is usually hairless in juvenile plants. Geayi had darker green leaves which are linear. Either plant can have the red midrib, but it's more noticeable in geayi with it's long spidery leaves.The stem and the underside of the leaves of geayi are usually covered with short hairs(Rowley says they have a "hoar frost look")Lamerei sometimes has hairs under the leaves in mature plants but mostly is hairless. The flowers are very different too, but yours is probably a long way off flowering (when they are 2-3 m tall!)I don't know what really low light levels do to them, even when inside my plants of each species have always looked very different from each other (even when dormant, the stems are different looking in the small plants!).
For further information, see Luthy in Bradleya 22/2004 85-130.

mr_subjunctive said...


Well, surely at least some of the problem is that it's rare to see both plants side-by-side for comparison purposes. (And sometimes even when you do, there's no caption to tell you which is which, or the two are identified but you don't get to see enough of them to make a proper comparison, as I found out when I went looking through a google image search earlier today.)