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Bizarre Endangered Plants -- Baseball Plant

Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 4-9, 11,13-17, 31-34
USDA: 9b-10
Frost Tolerance: Hardy down to 28°F (-2°C)
Minimum Avg. Temperature: 45°F (7°C)
Sun Exposure: Light shade, morning sun
Origin: South Africa (Great Karoo)
Growth Habits: Succulent, up to 8 inches high (20 cm)
Watering Needs: moderate water in Summer, keep dry in winter
Propagation: Seeds, sexes are separated, so a male and a female plant are needed for the fecundation 
 Cultural Practices:
This species is dormant in winter, keep it totally dry at or around 40°F (4°C).
Blooming Habits:The tiny flowers are delicately scented. They form at the top of the plant (This picture was taken at the end of March in Phoenix.) This species is dioecious (meaning that there are male plants, and female plants).

Summary: 
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.

At first spherical, the Euphorbia obesa becomes taller with age. The plant has a long tap root. As with the other Euphorbias, its sap is poisonous.
Although this Euphorbia is very common in cultivation, it is almost extinct in the wild, mostly through over-collection and loss of habitat.


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