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  • Scientific name: Euphorbia gamkensis
  • Genus: Euphorbia
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Euphorbiales
  • Subclass: Rosidae
  • Biological rank: Species

Euphorbia gamkensis is a small succulent of about 6 to 8 inches in diameter found in South Africa, not far from the town of Calitzdorp in the Western Cape. It’s a fairly narrowly endemic plant, found mostly in the Little Karoo and surrounding mountains such as the Gamkaberg, for which it is named. The species was apparently discovered and described only in 1999, so it’s quite new to science. Euphorbias with this particular type of growth habit are referred to as medusoid, thanks to the superficial resemblance to the mythical character of Medusa who had venomous snakes coming out of her head rather than hair. Unlike Medusa, however, gazing upon this plant won’t turn you into stone!

The small flowers are reddish with hints of yellow and green, and the three-lobed seed capsules are characteristic of all members of the genus Euphorbia.


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