Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
With their odd and unusual forms, succulents are among the most fascinating plants with the crested Euphorbias being even more bizarre looking. Among the succulents, the Euphorbias may be a little more prone to become crested than other species. Letís look at a few crested varieties. The Latin names of these plants will have the word cristata indicating they are crested.
The original plant is a native of South Africa, and it has pencil-like stems arising from the many branches. In the crested form, the numerous stems emerge in a pattern that forms a fan, which explains the common name. This can have very small leaves at the very tips of the stems.
Crested cow horn
This is a crested form of the cow horn Euphorbia, which is native to some areas of Africa. The species plant is a very spiny, branched plant with angled stems. While the original can eventually reach over seven feet in height, the crested form tends to be much smaller. Very slow to reach maturity, crested cow horn looks just fantastic. It is irregularly shaped with angles and spines that go every direction.
Crested green crown
The species plant, which is originally native to South Africa, is quite dwarf, only two to three inches in height. From the top of the stem there are four or so branches that form a crown, which tends to spread out with age. In the crested form, this tendency is extremely pronounced. The crested green crown has bunches and bunches of tiny branches that grow as a massive, cushion-like crest. These come out of the crown so that the entire stem is concealed.
Crested oleander cactus
Despite the common name, this plant is indeed a succulent rather than a cactus. Native to India, the original species plant has cylindrical stems with lots of leaves. In the crested form, the stem has many little forking branches that form a crest-like fan. Crested oleander cactus only grows to about six inches or so in height.
There is a variegated form of the crested oleander cactus, which has brown spines. On the ordinary crested form, these will be black.
Frilled Fan Euphorbia
Also known as elk horn Euphorbia, this is an unusual crested form of a candelabra plant, which is native to India and Sri Lanka. The species plant is tree-like, while the crested one has fan-like branches that come off from the main trunk. These are crowded together to form a dense clump. Frilled fan Euphorbia makes an excellent indoor plant.