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Jan 17, 2022 6:01 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Leafy crest

Tiny leaves on a Euphorbia flanaganii crest mark new growth. Each tubercle on this plant produces one leaf.

Thumb of 2021-12-06/Baja_Costero/fb1767

Full photo here

Last edited by Baja_Costero Jan 17, 2022 6:36 PM Icon for preview
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Jan 17, 2022 6:51 PM CST
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Adeniums Roses Plumerias Orchids Miniature Gardening Hibiscus
Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
I knew right away that this was yours Baja. I'm a big fan of your collection and photos! I tip my hat to you.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite pastime. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/c... plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g...
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Jan 17, 2022 7:21 PM CST
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Level 1
Cool banner Baja!
As Yogi Berra said, “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
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Jan 17, 2022 7:22 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Smiling

Here for the curious is that same crest from the banner pic today, so you can see what it has been doing the last 2 months.

Thumb of 2022-01-18/Baja_Costero/f0bd36

Curiouser and curiouser.
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Jan 17, 2022 7:27 PM CST
Name: Gigi
Florida (Zone 9a)
Adeniums Roses Plumerias Orchids Miniature Gardening Hibiscus
Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Love it! Lovey dubby
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite pastime. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/c... plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g...
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Jan 18, 2022 8:18 AM CST
Name: Elizabeth
Ann Arbor, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Bee Lover Peonies Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Michigan Foliage Fan Dragonflies
Dahlias Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Bromeliad Bookworm
What a neat plant. Fascinating growth habit. It's completely new to me, so thanks for sharing.
I post high resolution photos (nature, travel, and other subjects) on smugmug
https://arctangent.smugmug.com...
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Jan 19, 2022 5:33 PM CST
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
@Baja_Costero

Very cool, Baja!

This is an example of what is called "fasciation." Normally, when a new shoot is growing, the very tip of the shoot where the cells are actively dividing is like a little "point" that forms a cone and then the cone lengthens into the stem. You can see several normal stems all around the plant in your picture above. With fasciation, the "point" of dividing cells is instead a "line" of cells, and they end up forming what appears to be several stems fused together---the central structure in the image above and in the banner image.

Flower heads can be fasciated, too.

Lots of plants can develop fasciated stems or flowers, often only on occasion, but some plants commonly do. Crested celosia (cockscomb) is one many folks are familiar with:



Many things can trigger fasciation: weather, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, genetic mutation. Often the cause is unknown.

I did a little looking around for more info on fasciation for those of you interested:



Here is a good article on fasciation:
https://mastergardener.extensi...

Some good pictures of "normal" and "fasciated" Euphorbia flanaganii (also called "medusa head"
https://succulentgrowingtips.c...

A couple more fasciated plants:
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/...
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Jan 19, 2022 6:12 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Great examples on that Euphorbia page of a so-called "arm crest" (like the one in the banner) and a "head crest" (significantly less common in cultivation) where the "medusa head" itself, not any of the serpents coming out of it, develops that characteristic line formation.
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Jan 19, 2022 6:54 PM CST
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
Baja, please explain "arm crest" and "head crest" a little more. In the article, they refer to "crests" and "monstrose forms." Is that what you are calling arm and head crests, respectively? They say they arise the same way.
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Jan 19, 2022 7:45 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
These plants are given the common name medusa or medusa head because of the form the plant takes. It's a little like a central head (the main stem) with lots of serpents snaking around it, gorgon-like.



The term "head crest" refers specifically to the central part, the main stem from which the many narrow stems emerge. When the head crests, it causes a different effect (illustrated on that page but missing from the database) than when the snakes (or arms) crest. Those terms are meant to distinguish which part of the plant is crested (monstrose).

Usually when the head crests, only that central part displays abnormal growth (developing 2-fold symmetry around the line that makes up the growth center, like a lot of crested globose cacti) and the skinny branches coming out around it look normal. By contrast, when an arm crests (like in the picture) only that part displays abnormal growth, and it's more like a coral type pattern. People cut these mutant arms (looking more like undulating fans) and root them to have the arm crest on its own, with that fascinating coral pattern. They are quite easy to reproduce this way.



The reason arm crests are much more common than head crests is that they can be propagated easily from cuttings. The other kind has to spontaneously arise (whatever triggers cresting is beyond me), and cannot be propagated easily, to the best of my knowledge. So when people grow a lot of seedlings, they occasionally get lucky and a head crest comes out of it.

I hope that makes sense. Smiling
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Jan 19, 2022 8:54 PM CST
Bay Area California (Zone 9a)
I agree with @Baja_Costero
But, don't confuse Arm crests with Polytomy, they can look similar.
Last edited by Aeonium2003 Jan 19, 2022 8:55 PM Icon for preview
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Jan 19, 2022 9:39 PM CST
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
Baja, Yes, that makes sense. Thanks! This is a really cool looking plant. Do a lot of euphorbes do this?

@Aeonium2003

Evan, what is polytomy? When I looked it up, I read that it is a type of fasciation where the apical meristem divides into several meristems. So the difference is that the arm crest is like a line of meristematic cells, while polytomy is several points of meristmatic cells? What kind of structure does a polytomy make and how is it different from the arm crest?
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Jan 19, 2022 9:47 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
lauriemorningglory said:Baja, Yes, that makes sense. Thanks! This is a really cool looking plant. Do a lot of euphorbes do this?


The most common crested Euphorbia in cultivation is probably lactea. We have a few good pics in the database of crested Euphorbias:



I don't think they do it more or less often than other succulent plants. The most common ones are probably the most stable and the least difficult.
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Jan 19, 2022 10:08 PM CST
Bay Area California (Zone 9a)
@Lauriemorningglory
My definition of Polytomy would be a growth point with more then one crested growth points. Kind of like a Monstrose plant combined with a crested. Think of a Crested plant as a single growth point, just in a line. And Polytomy as a Plant with multiple growth points arranged in a line.
Here's a few pics (not mine) that shows multiple crested growthpoints, which is polytomy.
POLYTOMY
Thumb of 2022-01-20/Aeonium2003/175d78
CRESTED


Thumb of 2022-01-20/Aeonium2003/dc660b
Last edited by Aeonium2003 Jan 19, 2022 10:11 PM Icon for preview
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Jan 19, 2022 10:28 PM CST
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bee Lover Bulbs Cat Lover Region: Nebraska
Thanks for the pictures, Baja. I don't grow houseplants, but I might have to try one of these sometime. Smiling

Evan, Yes, it does look like an arm crest but very thick, with multiple new heads along the ridge. Each head will try to grow in diameter, correct? but they will crowd each other. What happens as this structure gets bigger? Do one or two dominant heads take over and the others give up and get overgrown? Do the heads eventually fall off and start new plants?
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