Common Names: Abd al Kuri Euphorbia
Geographic Origin: Euphorbia abdelkuri is endemic only to the Abd al Kuri Island in Yemen, within the Socotra Archipelago. The island is located in the Indian ocean south of the Arab peninsula and east of the coast of Somalia, and is guarded by fierce winds and Somalian pirates. Even more difficult to locate, E. abdelkuri only grows within a 10 km area consisting of limestone grounds 250-400 meters above sea level, and is not located anywhere else within the Abd al Kuri Island. However, historically the succulent once existed throughout the island, but has decreased for unknown reasons.
Description: The Abd al Kuri Euphorbia is a spine-less succulent that forms densely-branching, gray stems that develop into candelabra-like formations up to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. In adults, the stem is cylindrical and smooth, while young plants possess a hexagonal stem with a wrinkled greenish-gray coloration. Overall, the succulent is considered to resemble a candle dripping with melted wax.
When flowering, E. abdelkuri produces simple cymes from the top of the stem, bearing small yellow cyathia. Inflorescences will be followed by three-sided, dull green fruits.
- Watering: Low
- Lighting: E. abdelkuri prefers full sun during most of the day, but should be protected from moderately strong afternoon sun, especially if the plant begins to burn. Be wary of yellow, brown, or red patches that may indicate sunburn or stress. Additionally, moderate shade is also tolerated, but optimally, succulents should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Propagation: Propagation is possible through seed, grafting, or cuttings. However, seeds are rare, and difficult to obtain. Most E. abdelkuri specimens are grafted onto other succulents – commonly, Euphorbia canariensis – as the Abd al Kuri Euphorbia is sensitive to root-rot, and slow-growing. However, once grafted, the species is easy to maintain.
- Cold tolerance: 35°F, USDA hardiness zones 10b-11
- Special Accommodations: E. abdelkuri is very frost tolerant, and will perish quickly when exposed to cold temperatures. Always protect from cold conditions, and site indoors to prevent nightly chills. Additionally, be extremely careful when handling to avoid damaging the stem, and coming into contact with the toxic latex. Even a small amount will result in severe skin irritation, and can cause blindness if exuded into the eye.