Two interesting Euphorbias from the southern Great Karoo, part 1: E. braunsii

Last month my  friend George Hatting and I decided to spend a Sunday looking for plants in the Prince Albert area. We had both been there before and discovered some interesting plants.  After a nice drive over the spectacular Swartberg Pass, we arrived in Prince Albert and took a gravel road road from there heading east. Shortly after leaving town, we stopped at a place that looked promising and found a couple of beautiful small Euphorbia’s.  They clearly were plants of E. braunsii, which is well known from the area.

This is how E. braunsii usually looks in the wild (well, normally without fruits, of course). Photo taken near Prince Albert on 10 Oct. 2012.

The peculiar thing was that they were in leaf, something I had never seen before and which is apparently a rare phenomenon. Digging into my literature I found no mention of the leaves, let alone a description or picture of them. The most likely explanation for this is that the leaves are short lived, as in the related (or maybe even identical) species E. rudis from Namaqualand and Namibia. Whatever is the case, I was quite chuffed to be there right on time to photograph the leaves, especially as they add an extra dimension to an already charming plant.

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The four pictures above were taken on 24 Febr. 2013

Next time we will look at a natural hybrid we discovered on this same trip.

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