A Dorstenia 'Taba' gorge
in my collection

     Dorstenia is a genus of many succulent and non succulent plants with a distinctive inflorescense known as a hypanthodium. The genus is widespread throughout both the Old and New World tropics, but the succulent varieties occur mainly in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. These Dorstenias are branching succulent stemmed plants with sometimes evergreen, sometimes deciduous crinkled edged leaves. They can be small plants less than a foot tall to large branching shrubs. A single stemmed plant, fully leafed out, looks like a miniature Palm Tree. The inflorescense is a weird, horned, disc shaped structure that has given these plants the common name "Shield Flower". The "Shield" actually consists of a multitude of miniscule flowers. The resulting seed pods pop when ripe and send the seed flying a considerable distance, similar to some Euphorbias.
     Dorstenias, being natives of the tropics, actually appreciate a fair amount of water when growing. Still the soil should drain fast and not remain soggy for too long. They can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. They grow best in light to medium shade in hot dry climates like mine, but can probably be grown in full sun in milder climates.
     I got this one from Arid Lands and planted it along with a Monadenium "Tanzania" in the same pot. Unfortunately the Monadenium leafed out so well it completely shaded the Dorstenia, so it's first seasons growth was kind of leggy. It's now potted up by itself and should do better this year. The second picture below is a Dorstenia flower pic I took at Arid Lands this past spring.

Repotted on
it's own

A flower at
Arid Lands

All images and text are copyright 2005 to present, D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.