Baseball plant Facts

Baseball plant Facts
Baseball plant is succulent plant that belongs to the spurge family. It is endemic (it cannot be found anywhere else) for the Cape province in South Africa. Baseball plant grows in the subtropical climate, on the hillsides and stony areas, surrounded by dwarf bushes. It requires well-drained, sandy or gravely soil and plenty of sunlight for the successful growth. Baseball plant nearly went extinct at the beginning of the 20th century due to uncontrolled collecting from the wild (this practice is prohibited by law today). Thanks to its unusual morphology, baseball plant is very popular in horticulture and it can be seen in the greenhouses and botanical gardens around the world.
Interesting Baseball plant Facts:
Baseball plant has ball-shaped single stem with 8 vertical ribs and 8 shallow grooves between them. It can reach 8 inches in height and 3.5 inches in width.
Baseball plant resembles sea urchin because of its globular shape and grey-colored stem with reddish-brown or purplish traverse bands. Color and shape of the plant provide camouflage (untrained eye cannot easily detect this plant in the wild).
Baseball plant is named after the shape of the stem and brown tubercles on the ribs that look like seams (they all together create impression of a ball that is used for baseball).
Unlike young plants, old baseball plants have more ribs and they are cylindrically-shaped.
Baseball plant produces rudiment leaves that have very short lifespan. This plant doesn't produce spines instead of leaves.
Baseball plant obtains water and nutrients from the ground using its tapering tap root.
Baseball plant produces cup-shaped grayish-green floral arrangements called cyathium. They consist from a single female flower or numerous (reduced) male flowers on the forked, hairy flowering stems. Each plant produces either male or female flowers (dioecious plant).
Baseball plant blooms during the summer. Flowers appear along the angles, near the top of the plant. They emit delicate smell which attracts insects responsible for the pollination of this species.
Fruit of baseball plant is 3-angled capsule filled with 3 grey-colored, round seed. Mature fruit explodes to release seed. Each female plant can produce up to 150 seeds per year.
Baseball plant propagates via seed and starts to germinate three weeks after sowing.
Baseball plant grows slowly and starts to produce flowers 5 to 8 years after planting.
Baseball plant can be cultivated outdoors, in desert gardens and areas with Mediterranean climate, or indoors, in the pots inside the house. It undergoes winter dormancy and should not be watered heavily during this period.
Stem of baseball plant is rich in milky latex that induces skin irritation.
Despite the latex, baboons and grazing animals often consume baseball plants during the periods of drought.
Baseball plant is long-lived perennial plant.

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