Alluaudia procera Drake
Madagascar ocotillo is named after its similar-appearing, but unrelated, North American counterpart, ocotillo. (This is another example of “convergent evolution,” in which unrelated plants evolve into closely similar shapes to fulfill similar ecological niches in different locations.) Madagascar ocotillo is a deciduous succulent tree native to Madagascar, part of its “spiny forest,” and not found in North America.
Identification: These plants begin as a tangle of stems. Eventually one stem dominates and the rest die. The surviving stem is tall (up to 59' (18 m) in the wild), narrow, rarely branched. It is gray-green to bone white, with raised ridges armed with tightly spaced rigid, sharp spines, each about ⅜" (1 cm) long. Often leafless in high heat, it forms small oval leaflets ⅜-1¾" (1-5 cm) long during wet periods. Flowers are yellowish-white, occurring in thick branching clusters at the stem tips.
Alluaudia procera on Cactus Art: the World of Cacti & Succulents
Alluaudia procera on SucculentGuide.com
Alluaudia procera at the University of Connecticut Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities
Alluaudia procera description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 9b-11: