Description of succulent plant Echidnopsis malum
Echidnopsis malum is a succulent, herbaceous and perennial plant belonging to the Stapeliinae subtribe of the Apocynaceae family. It is native to East Africa where it grows prostrate on sandy substrates, very aerated and nutrient-poor. It is a rare plant to find in Nature because its stems are generally poorly visible and rarely protrude from the surface vegetation of the substrate. It is not an easy plant to find in nurseries and is not one of the cheapest.
Stems and leaves
This species develops fleshy and crawling stems of +/- 12 cm long of grayish or brownish-green. Each stem has +/- 5 conspicuous angles that develop small quadrangular teeth in the margin. At the apex of each tooth, a short leaf of short duration is arranged; the leaves have numerous microscopic hairs if they are observed under a microscope. In addition, they have a conspicuous heart-shaped shape and measure +/- 0.3 cm long.
The flowers are arranged in small extra-axillary inflorescences that only manage to develop a single flower completely. These inflorescences appear in different regions of the stems, although mostly in younger areas (upper areas). Each flower is supported by a pedicel of +/- 1 cm long, yellowish and papillose. The 5 sepals lanceolate, +/- 0.2 cm long and covered with hair.
The floral corolla is very attractive in this species with a colada form (of urn)That resembles flowers to small fruits. The surface of the corolla is rugged, papilosa and shows a yellow-greenish or brownish blotchy or bands red (spots not always present). In the apical center of the corolla there is a pentagonal and invaginated opening that gives access to the pollinators; in this opening 5 triangular segments are observed, which are the endings of each petal. The non-visible interior of the flower has a reddish color. Due to this small opening, the flowers must be pollinated by small insects.
Tips for growing succulent plant Echidnopsis malum
Echidnopsis malum is easy to maintain in the garden if the following cultivation tips are taken into account:
It is essential that a very bright area be cultivated but not fully exposed to sunlight. He prefers to develop in semi-shade as long as he receives the sun early in the morning.
It prefers to grow under the influence of cool or warm temperatures that are between 20 ºC-28 ºC. Do not expose for long hours to temperatures below 8ºC.
Use a very light substrate with enough thick sand that allows one rapid drainage of the water for irrigation. This species develops shallow roots and therefore does not require deep pots but wider because of its horizontal growth.
Water after the substrate surface dries if temperatures over 26ºC predominate. If temperatures are between 20ºC-25ºC, it should be watered once a week. In winter where temperatures below 15ºC predominate, it is necessary to suspend irrigation.
Plagues and diseases:
Mainly affected by cottony mealybugs that colonize roots, stems, flowers, and fruits. These pests favor the appearance of pathogenic fungi that cause rot. If the plant is kept free of these pest insects, it will grow and bloom in abundance.
Very simple from cuttings of stems that naturally develop adventitious roots by themselves facilitating the asexual multiplication of the species. It can also be grown from seeds, but we must wait years before the first flowering.