A vegetable zombie: Euphorbia platyclada

I intend to feature a few plants in my haul from last week’s trip to the UK but for today I will focus on just one. This is because it was not on my intended list of purchases and it is not a plant for the garden. In fact I would put money on most people not even realising it is a plant at all, well not alive. I make no apologies for showing it and buying it because it is the sort of plant I love – weird.

Euphorbia platyclada is a succulent plant from south west Madagascar. This island is renowned for its strange flora but this one, from very arid deciduous woodland, takes strange to its limits. It has no leaves and the stems are thick and swollen in various directions. Some are round, some rather square and others flattened. They are black, pink, brown and purple but not green.

The habit is upright with stems flopping down here and there in a very irregular way. Of course, being a euphorbia and a flowering plant it does produce flowers – as you can see in the photo above.






Missed them?



Here is an enlargement.

No, you don’t grow this for the flowers! It needs a sunny spot and is not frost hardy. Most plants from Madagascar, even the succulents, need more winter warmth than most other succulents so this will remain a houseplant. Obviously it needs to be dry in winter but we will see how the two of us get on.

It won’t surprise you to know that its common name is dead plant and dead stick plant! Actually I think this should be stick insect plant. The jointed stems and the colouring makes the plant look more like an insect or crustacean than a plant. That enlargement above looks just like a close up of a beetle leg to me.

The comment below about it looking like twiglets is very apt but it just occurred to me that it also looks a lot like Bryophyllum delagoensis (Kalanchoe tubiflora) and that is native to Madagascar too so maybe there is some link there too.


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6 Comments on “A vegetable zombie: Euphorbia platyclada”

  1. thelonggardenpath
    August 17, 2019 at 9:00 am #

    😧 A Twiglet plant!!

  2. Meriel
    August 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm #

    I can’t imagine why anyone would want this!

    • thebikinggardener
      August 18, 2019 at 5:37 pm #

      LOL. at least it is not hardy so can’t be invasive! I understand your point though 🙂

  3. tonytomeo
    August 20, 2019 at 4:23 am #


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