Euphorbia obesa is a peculiar, almost ball shaped dwarf succulent plant that resembles a stone. It can grow to 8" in height with a diameter of 4". It is a single-stemmed, unbranched, firm-bodied plant. The stem is usually 8-angled and grooved. Younger plants have a rounded sea urchin-like shape. The rotund stem is mottled grey-green in colour with dull purple transverse bands.Euphorbia obesa is a rare endemic of the Great Karoo, south of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. Over-collecting by collectors and plant exporters almost resulted in the plant becoming extinct in the wild. Today it is protected by national (Nature Conservation) and international (CITES) legislation. The plants occur in karoo vegetation among Beaufort shale fragments, where they grow in full sun or in the partial shade provided by dwarf karoo shrubs. They are very well camouflaged and difficult to see.
Euphorbia obesa is best grown as a pot plant in a sunny position such as a window sill, but can also be grown out of doors in desert gardens where frost is not too severe. It does best in a gravely shale based soil, but is tolerant of a wide range of soil types. Good drainage is essential. Water sparingly during the summer months and keep dry in winter. It is a slow growing long lived plant and once established, it will be content in its position and with its soil for years. It can tolerate moderate shade, and a plant that has been growing in shade should be slowly hardened off before placing it in full sun as the plant will be severely scorched if moved too suddenly from shade into sun.
Publisher: Hirt's Gardens
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