small perennial plant with a succulent stem, native to central Africa; the stem produces an enlarged caudex. It has an erect stem, widened downwards, which can reach 30-35 cm high and 45-60 cm wide; it is greyish brown in colour and tends to become woody or semi-woody. It produces several ramifications, which give origin to a small disordered foliage. From the apex of the branches come out small glossy leaves, of a bright green colour, usually oval or lanceolate, with wavy or indented margin.
Always from the apex of the branches, in spring, it produces thin stems carrying the particular inflorescences: they are called hypathodes, they are flattened, disc-shaped inflorescences, formed by countless small green flowers; around the disc of flowers depart some rays which give the flower the appearance of a strange daisy with few green and fleshy petals.
At the centre of the inflorescence are produced the seeds, which are pushed by the flower when they are ripe, at times even for some metres. To the genus Dorstenia belong also other particular succulents; D. gygas is the largest species, in fact it is a big pachycaule shrub, tall up to 180-200 cm, which grows only in the island of Socotra.
it is cultivated in a shady or semi-shady place, it fears the contact with the direct rays of the sun. These plants don’t like cold weather and are usually grown at a minimum temperature close to 12-15°C.
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From March to October, water regularly, avoiding letting the soil dry excessively; during the winter months let’s avoid watering. Usually, with the shortening of the days, the Dorstenie tend to lose their foliage, let’s avoid watering them during this period of semi-rest, let’s resume with regular watering as soon as we notice the new shoots, at the end of winter.
prefers soils that are soft and rich in humus, but always very well drained. Let’s remember that these plants, like many other succulents, do not produce a conspicuous rooting apparatus, and have a better development if placed in small containers.
Dorstenia foetida: Multiplication and Pests and Diseases
Multiplication: by seed; it is also possible to propagate the plants by cutting, even if the rooting is quite difficult.
Parasites and diseases: it fears the attack of aphids and cochineal; a very compact and poorly drained soil can favour the onset of radical rottenness.