Cactus and Succulents forum→Euphorbia trigona origin

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Name: Stefan
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skopjecollection
Jun 13, 2018 1:57 PM CST
My trigona rbura grew 4 cm in 3 weeks, after being placed in ultra coarse soil.... thats actually the fastest one plant has ever grown for me..... The new stem isnt etiolated...but it is green...Aegruinosa grew too.
///edit : on a side note, the lactea hasnt grown by much. Would appreciate advice....
[Last edited by skopjecollection - Jun 13, 2018 1:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 13, 2018 2:37 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:Thank you both, I stand corrected, and in record time. Smiling Can you find another picture of E. trigona flowering, Jai? That first one I already commented on is not trigona. But I'm not as certain about that as both of you are, apparently.


I can't, because it's been like 7 or 8 years. I asked my contacts in India if they have any pictures of it or can go back to the building and at least photograph the plants (assuming they're not flowering right now).

The taxonomic situation with Euphorbia tigrona reminds me of the Bengalese finch (also called Society finch). It has been kept for hundreds of years (at least) in parts of Asia, but for most of that time nobody knew where it came from taxonomically or genetically because it does not occur in the wild (same for Euphorbia tigrona and Aloe vera). In the last few years detailed modern DNA tests have actually taken place and show that most populations are at least partly descendants of the white-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata). However, it also has a small but non-negligible amount of DNA from other Lonchura species. Interestingly, from what I know this seems to vary based on the historical locations of the birds, with the ones in Japan appearing to have a higher admixture of species.

When things happen like this with plants, and those plants can reproduce ways other than sexually, it makes the situation even more interesting (and frustrating).
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Name: Daisy I
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DaisyI
Jun 13, 2018 3:34 PM CST
There are some plants that have been grown from vegetative propagation for so long they have lost their ability to produce seed.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 13, 2018 3:39 PM CST
Seedless triploid Cavendish bananas are a good example of that.

And in plants which naturally have very tiny, insignificant, flowers to start with (I think of many succulent Euphorbias who have tiny or incomplete flowers) if those stopped producing flowers altogether it wouldn't be surprising.

The exciting thing t ome is that in plants which lose the ability to produce flowers, it can sometimes spontaneously arise again due to mutation. It's not likely in any given plant, but also not impossible.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 13, 2018 3:49 PM CST
They still bloom.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jun 13, 2018 4:31 PM CST

Moderator

OK kids, fasten your seatbelts, this quick and dirty summary is coming to you courtesy of Daryl Koutnik's article in the Euphorbia journal Volume 7 (published in 1991). All the mistakes are mine. Smiling Go find yourself a copy of the original to see all the gory details.

E. trigona was originally described in 1768 by Miller, who said the plant was from Sri Lanka (then Ceylon?). It has never been found there except in cultivation. It was also described later in 1812 by Haworth (who properly credited Miller, but has received credit mistakenly by various publications). Also, there was for some time another species called E. barnhartii, which was named by Lemaire 90 years after trigona, then subsumed into trigona, then moved elsewhere.

The thrust of the article (other than telling an interesting historical story) is whether trigona can be distinguished from hermentiana, and honestly I don't even want to go there. So we'll skip that angle. Suffice to say the CoL has placed that plant under trigona, and barnhartii under lacei, so that's their state of the art, such as it is today.

After the original description of E. trigona, subsequent authors (like Haworth) described it as from India, and you will see other references to that as well, but apparently there is no actual wild trigona growing there, just cultivated plants gone feral and similar-looking plants being misidentified. So that geotag has been formally debunked as well. The earliest description of E. trigona (in the 17th century) came before it had a proper name, and that reference mentions material from West Africa, so we now have a third potential site of origin which has not been well confirmed (at least not in 1991).

To quote the author regarding identification of Euphorbia trigona in its various forms: "the key similarity in all of the descriptions is that the branches are not spreading but erect (appressed)".

And regarding the flowers, the plant only flowers in tropical climates and has only been recorded to flower twice in history (though Haworth does mention flowers, he does not describe them). Again, this info is from 1991, but from a source I respect.

I think it's pretty clear this plant has a history like Aloe vera, in being selected and cultivated far and wide long after the wild plants disappeared from habitat. As Daisy says, some plants cannot produce seed after being grown by humans from cuttings for so long (Aloe vera), even though they flower. Apparently Euphorbia trigona doesn't even get that far except by freak random chance.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 13, 2018 5:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 13, 2018 5:05 PM CST
Very interesting! (said in my best Sherlock Holmes voice) I'm confused by the only flowering twice in history. Did they all bloom at one time? Like Bamboo? so they have that record? Or did it get reported only twice that someone somewhere saw one bloom?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jun 13, 2018 5:11 PM CST

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Only 2 recorded observations.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 13, 2018 5:15 PM CST
Thumbs up
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 13, 2018 5:39 PM CST
DaisyI said:They still bloom.


Thankfully for us!

But they have lost their ability to set seed, which is what you said.
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 13, 2018 5:48 PM CST
I'm glad to see that its ubiquity in India is confirmed. So it makes sense that earlier people might think it was originally from there.

Baja_Costero said:
And regarding the flowers, the plant only flowers in tropical climates and has only been recorded to flower twice in history (though Haworth does mention flowers, he does not describe them). Again, this info is from 1991, but from a source I respect.


This confirms exactly what I said, that it DOES flower, albeit very rarely and only in tropical places like India where it can grow huge (bigger than in the arid American southwest). "Twice in [recorded] history" means just that, recorded. Most of the Indians who have this growing in their yard would never in a million years think to record the flowers. They almost certainly wouldn't even see them unless they were a plant nerd like me because they're very small. They just look like little green flecks.
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[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Jun 13, 2018 5:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jun 13, 2018 6:06 PM CST

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I would think that after 200 years of looking, flowers would be recorded more than twice if they happened with any frequency above the level of freak chance. You are of course welcome to your opinion.

And looking back, big picture-wise, it's been a few years since I first read that article, so I'm kind of amazed I remember anything at all from it. At least I remembered that it existed, right? Smiling And I remembered the distinguishing feature of trigona, which I have found quite useful to distinguish it from various plants in the interim.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 13, 2018 6:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 13, 2018 6:15 PM CST
Jai's point is a good one. Unless you are a "plant nerd" you won't notice that something new is happening to the old 'tree' that's been in your yard since the beginning of time - well maybe if the flowers were 12 inches across and bright red. Most people just aren't very observant.

Baja, your memory is better than mine. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 13, 2018 6:23 PM CST
We forget how things which are hugely obvious to us and taken for granted are entirely foreign or unnoticed to normal people.

I had an Echinopsis subdenudata that was sending up a big flower spike. I showed it to a friend and she said, "Oh God, it's horrid-looking!"

To her, the smooth green skin and hairy, disheveled, flower bud poking up on a long, thin, spike, looked creepy or gross. I found it absolutely beautiful, anticipatory, breath-taking, even.

Those other traits are things that I never saw, and I looked at it every day. But as soon as she told me what she meant, I saw it. When old trees in your yard have tiny little blooms on them, you're probably not going to notice. lol
Keep going!
[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Jun 13, 2018 6:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jun 13, 2018 6:47 PM CST

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I would rate the probability of this flowering Euphorbia in India being trigona as nearly zero. I'm a big believer in numbers and that's what the numbers say. There is a long line of people who have found trigonas growing in India only for them to be correctly identified as another species. Do you know what these other species look like? Do you know what they are called? Given the ability of the average observer to tell trigona from its close relatives, and the massive number of trigonas in cultivation in the tropics (one of the most common Euphorbias globally), history predicts this flowering Euphorbia is almost certainly not trigona.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 13, 2018 6:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 13, 2018 6:50 PM CST
You've been pretty insulting to both me and Stefan several times already. We know what we're talking about. You'll have to stop.
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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jun 13, 2018 6:54 PM CST

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Jai_Ganesha said:You've been pretty insulting to both me and Stefan several times already. We know what we're talking about. You'll have to stop.


I made one mistake and I apologize for it. I don't have any problem saying I was mistaken. I was making bad assumptions and I owned up to it. I phrased that statement very carefully, so I'm surprised you're still offended by it. If you're going to try to silence me because you're offended, we have to talk about what specifically (after that point) was offensive. I have no desire or intent to offend, and I am open to feedback. Disagreement is not offensive.

You'll note that I don't ever say "I know what I'm talking about" or tell people to stop. In fact quite the opposite, on both fronts, if you're reading what I type. I don't claim to be an expert. Your certainty is your business. But I reserve the right to disagree.

Let me put this in the least offensive way I can think of. If this flowering Indian plant is trigona, somebody needs to take a lot of pictures and document the event, because it would be publishable. Thumbs up
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 13, 2018 7:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Stefan
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skopjecollection
Jun 13, 2018 9:43 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-06-14/skopjecollection/59d5b0
Lactea is the large one in the left half of the photo

Thumb of 2018-06-14/skopjecollection/3cd57c

I concur with baja .Internet saying :pics or it didnt happen.
Just some proof that i own both plants. Imagine the trigona with a few greenish parts and leaves. photos are before i bought a few stapeliads, second pachypodium and adenium.
[Last edited by skopjecollection - Jun 13, 2018 9:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jun 14, 2018 5:49 AM CST
I think a couple people have lost context.

Most of the world does not have access to the Internet. Almost 1 billion of the people who live in India don't have access. When you say and imply that if there aren't pictures of something on the Internet, something isn't real (or that I'm wrong), you're showing deep sociocultural privilege at best, xenophobia at worst, or possibly just ignorance as to how wealthy and privileged we really are. Don't lose sight of this.

When you add that these particular flowers are tiny and not easily noticed atop giant trees, it's no wonder that pictures aren't easy to come by. The people I emailed in India yesterday probably haven't had a chance to check their messages and won't for at least several days. This is normal for the vast majority of the world.

I find this conversation to be dispiriting so I'm leaving it for the time being. I'll practice my skills at not clicking until I hear back.
Keep going!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jun 14, 2018 5:41 PM CST

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I'm out too. I'm very sorry to have insulted you.

This thread caused me to go read and learn and (re)discover, and that was fun. So thanks for the ride, guys.

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