What is this fleshy-stemmed plant?

What is this fleshy-stemmed plant?

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This plant came (seemingly by accident) with another pot plant a few years ago in a plant sale. Unfortunately, we do not remember what the original plant was that it came with.

  • It was initially one of the small 'fleshy stems' you can see in the photos, about 2cm in length.
  • If you do not water it, the leaves fall off and leave the fleshy stems
  • If it is watered, a new section of stem is grown with leaves.
  • Its existing stems do not seem to regrow their leaves if they drop off.
  • It was acquired in the South-West of England.
  • It does not appear to be affected by the time of year.

Photos (click to enlarge):

Reminds me of Senecio articulatus (Candle Plant; hot dog cactus), a succulent plant in the broad (aka polyphyletic) Senecio genus (Asteraceae).

Source: U. Wisconsin-Eau Calire

Based on my limited knowledge of the plant and the variable leaf shape, I am not sure if this is your species or not. However, I'm sure some additional searching using this species as a guide will get you to the correct species/cultivar.

World of Succulents provides some additional information on Senecio articulatus.

You can see a video of a Senecio succulent identified as S. articulatus for better comparison to your plant:

What Is the Difference Between a Tree and a Shrub?

Most people probably understand the difference between a tree and a shrub, but it might prove more difficult to explain. Trees and shrubs are both woody plants, as distinct from the herbaceous, fleshy-stemmed plants that comprise the other half of the plant world. We all think of a shrub as being smaller than a tree, but there are more differences than size alone.

According to renowned British garden designer David Domoney, a shrub is defined as a woody plant that is smaller than a tree and generally has a rounded shape. The main difference between the two is that a shrub has several main stems growing from ground level, rather than one trunk.

Fun Fact

The phrase "smaller than a tree" can be misleading, as shrubs can vary in size from ground cover right up to huge bushes.

The conclusion has to be that trees and shrubs share similar characteristics but are not at all the same. Let's look at each in greater detail.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Choose a Plant for Cuttings

Select a healthy parent plant from which to take cuttings.   Avoid plants with diseases or lots of drooping or dying foliage. The best specimens for cuttings will have plenty of new growth. Moreover, the presence of flower buds or blooms is not important. In fact, too many flowers can actually hinder the ability of a cutting to root itself. Finally, the parent plant should be large enough that taking cuttings will not harm it.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Prepare the Container

Fill a clean pot or container with soilless potting mix to hold the stem cutting for rooting. A soilless mix drains better than garden soil and provides moist conditions. Don't use ordinary garden soil, as it might contain pathogens that can kill the cutting before it ever takes root. You don't need a large container. Once the cutting takes root, you are going to repot it anyway. A 4- to 6-inch deep pot is usually sufficient.

Many cuttings will root in plain water. However, transferring a water-rooted seedling to soil is not always successful.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Find the Best Stems for Cuttings

Choose green, non-woody stems for cuttings. Newer growth is easier to root than woody or older stems. Look for a stem with a node—a bump along the stem where a leaf or flower bud attaches. This point is where new roots will emerge.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Take the Plant Cutting

Use a pair of scissors or a razor blade that has been sterilized in alcohol to make a clean cut just below a node. The cutting doesn’t need to be long, but it should contain at least two leaves and one node. A cutting that is 4 to 6 inches long is usually sufficient. Longer cuttings sometimes dry out when placed in growing medium.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Prepare the Cutting

Place the cutting on a flat, hard surface, and make a clean slice through the middle of the node with a sterilized razor blade.   This scarifying of the node will increase the chances of roots emerging from this spot. Also, remove all but one or two leaves. The cutting needs some leaf growth to continue photosynthesis, but too many leaves will sap energy from root creation. If the leaves are very large in proportion to the stem, cut off their top halves.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Apply a Rooting Hormone (Optional)

Some plants root easily, but a rooting hormone can help others by stimulating the cutting into sending out new roots. Fill a container with water, and place some rooting hormone into another container. Dip the node end of the cutting into the water and then into the rooting hormone. Tap off any excess hormone too much actually hinders its success. Discard the excess hormone. Once it comes in contact with a cutting, it has been activated.

The Spruce / Candace Madonna

Bore a Planting Hole

Use a pencil or similar pointed object to poke a planting hole into the soilless potting mix. Making the hole slightly larger than the stem diameter will prevent the rooting hormone from being wiped away when you embed the stem in the pot.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Plant the Cutting

Carefully place the cutting into the hole you made in the potting mix, and gently firm the soil around it. You can fit several cuttings into one container, but space them so the leaves do not touch one another.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Cover the Pot With Plastic

Place the container with the cutting into a plastic bag. The bag will keep the humidity high and hold in heat. But don’t seal the bag completely because some airflow is necessary to prevent fungal rot. Keep the container in a warm spot in the house, ideally in an area that experiences filtered light. Don’t put the cutting in full sunlight until new leaves begin appearing along the stem.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

Monitor the Cutting

Until roots form, keep the soil slightly moist but not so wet that condensation forms on the inside of the plastic bag. Check regularly for signs of rot, and remove any suspect cuttings as soon as you spot trouble. After two to three weeks, begin checking for roots by tugging gently on the cutting. When you begin to feel resistance, it means roots have developed. At this point, you can transplant the cutting into its own pot or the ground.

The Spruce / Loren Probish

What is this fleshy-stemmed plant? - Biology

Common Groundsel
Senecio vulgaris L.

Senecio is from the Latin senex meaning old man and refers to the beard like pappus on the seed.
Vulgaris is the Latin word meaning common.
Common Groundsel

A fleshy stemmed, erect, annual herb with terminal clusters of small, yellow, nodding flowers without 'petals' from July to February and leaves that are deeply lobed and lobes that are toothed.

Two. 6 to 13 mm long overall. Tip rounded. Sides convex. Base tapered. Surface hairless. Petiole hairless, 2 to 4 mm long, shorter than the blade and merging with it. The plant has a long hypocotyl and a short epicotyl.

The leaves develop singly, the first being 15 to 25 mm overall in length and sessile or with a merging petiole. The earliest leaves may have a few or no hairs. The first leaf usually has a few small lobes.

Alternate. Does not form a rosette.
Petiole - On the lower leaves only.
Blade - 20-100 mm long x 5-45 mm wide, many deep lobes, leaf edge flat. Lobes oblong with wavy teeth and rounded tips, the end lobe tends to be larger than the side lobes. Numerous multi-cellular hairs on the upper and lower leaf surface or restricted to veins of the lower surface or hairless.
Stem leaves - stalkless and often partially stem clasping with lobes at the base, 50 to 75 mm long, and practically hairless or with a scattering of multi-cellular hairs on the upper and lower surfaces.

150-750 mm tall, fleshy, weak, may branch but small plants are often single stemmed, polygonal in cross section, solid, and carry multi-cellular hairs which look like minute strings of beads under magnification or are hairless.

Terminal or axillary in dense clusters (corymbs), initially stalkless and later carried on short stems. Flower base (involucre) cylindrical, cup shaped, 5-12 mm long x 4-10 mm diameter with 15-21 bracts.

Bracts - Green, narrowly egg shaped. Short outer bracts in 2-3 rows. Tips are black, pointed and hairy.
Florets - Many, scarcely longer than the flower base (involucre), short, yellow, no 'petals', tubular, bisexual.
Ovary -
'Petals' - None.
Stamens -
Anthers -

Greyish, hairy, striped, cylindrical achene, 1.5-2.5 mm long x 0.2-0.4 mm wide with short, low lying hairs in vertical lines. Pappus of many, white, fine, hairs that are as long or longer than the florets (or twice as long as the achene).

Leaves obovate, irregularly toothed to pinnatifid into lanceolate or oblong-toothed lobes, sparsely simple hairy or glabrous. Ultimate lobes obtuse and without callose apices.
Stems ascendant.
Involucre cylindrical, 7-9 mm long.
Flower heads homogamous-discoid.
Florets scarcely longer than involucre, all tubular, all bisexual, yellow.
Achenes not attenuate towards the summit and up to 2 mm long.
From J.M. Black, N.T. Burbidge and N.S. Lander.

Annual. Germination occurs in the autumn or spring.

July to November in SA.
July to October in Perth.
July to February in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

WA specimens are subspecies vulgaris.

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Distributed throughout Tasmania.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Most abundant on sandy soils

Weed of gardens, lawns, crops, cultivation, summer irrigated vegetables, shore lines and disturbed areas.
It is of usually of little economic significance.

Possibly toxic but no field case have been reported in Australia.

Management and Control:

Eradication strategies:

Manually remove isolated plants and their roots, to a depth of 200 mm, and spray a buffer area of 20 metres around the infestation with 1 part of Tordon® 75-D in 100 parts of water in early winter.
Prevent seed set.

African Daisy (Senecio pterophorus)
Bushy Groundsel (Senecio cunninghamii)
Canary Creeper (Senecio angulatus = Senecio tamoides)
Cape Ivy (Senecio mikanioides = Delairea odorata)
Commonwealth weed (Senecio bipinnatisectus)
Cotton Fireweed (Senecio quadridentatus)
Feathery Groundsel (Senecio anethifolius)
Fireweed (Senecio lautus)
Fireweed Groundsel (Senecio linearifolius)
Fleshy Groundsel (Senecio gregorii)
Hispid Fireweed (Senecio hispidulus)
Holly-leaved Senecio (Senecio glastifolius)
Mountain Fireweed (Senecio gunnii)
Purple Groundsel (Senecio elegans)
Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
Slender Groundsel (Senecio glossanthus)
Squarrose Fireweed (Senecio squarrosus)
Tall Groundsel (Senecio runcinifolius)
Tall Yellowtop (Senecio magnificus)
Senecio daltonii
Senecio madagascariensis
Senecio megaglossus

Plants of similar appearance:

Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P114. Diagram.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P887. Diagram.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P372.

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney). P183.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P104-105. Photo.

Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1975). Tasmanian weed handbook. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania). P40-41. Diagrams.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1125.21.

Feb 25, 2014: Senecio pectinatus

A thank you to Bill Higham (Bill [email protected] and personal website The Cut Monkey) for sharing today's photograph of Senecio pectinatus. Much appreciated!

According to the 2012 Census of Tasmanian Vascular Plants (PDF), Senecio pectinatus var. pectinatus is the only variety that occurs in Tasmania. The Tasmanian census records it is endemic to the state, while A Census of the Vascular Plants of Victoria lists it as uncertainly occurring in that state as well (this isn't accordance with the current Wikipedia account: Senecio pectinatus. Another variety, Senecio pectinatus var. major, occurs in Victoria and New South Wales.

As the common name implies, alpine groundsel is a high elevation herbaceous perennial, associated with peaty soils and open, alpine landscapes. A photo of the entire plant can be seen here, via Wikimedia Commons: Senecio pectinatus.

What is this fleshy-stemmed plant? - Biology

Some of the following glossary of terms has been taken from California
Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations, A Dictionary
of Botanical and Biographical Etymology , compiled by Michael L.
Charters ( Other terms were taken from

abaxial (abaxially ): facing away from the axis of an organ or organism
"the abaxial surface of a leaf is the underside or side facing away from the
stem" characterized by an abaxial structure.
abscission : The natural detachment of parts of a plant, typically dead
leaves and ripe fruit.

actinomycetes : any member of a heterogeneous group of generally
anaerobic bacteria noted for a filamentous and branching growth pattern
that results, in most forms, in an extensive colony, or mycelium.
adaxial ( adaxially ): located on the side nearest to the axis of an organ
or organism Of or relating to the side or surface facing or nearest to the
axis of an organ, such as the upper surface of a leaf ventral.
achene : a small, dry, one-seeded, indehiscent fruit (i.e. one that does
not split open), deriving from a one-chambered ovary, typical of the
Asteraceae .
adventitious : arising or occurring sporadically or in other than the
usual location.
allelopathy ( allelopathic ): a characteristic of some plants according to
which chemical compounds are produced that inhibit the growth of other
plants in the immediate vicinity.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group ( APG ), an informal international group
of systematic botanists who came together to try to establish a consensus
view of the taxonomy of flowering plants (angiosperms) that would reflect
new knowledge about their relationships based upon phylogenetic studies.
annonaceous : belonging to the plant family Annonaceae .
anthelmintic : acting to expel or destroy parasitic intestinal worms.
antiscorbutic : effective in the prevention or relief of scurvy.
apiculate : ending in an abrupt slender tip which is not stiff.

arcuate : arching or curved like a bow.
bipinnate : twice pinnately compound.
carminative : medication that prevents the formation of gas in the
alimentary tract or eases its passing.
catkin : a spikelike, often pendulous, inflorescence of petalless unisexual
flowers, either staminate or pistillate.
climactertic : a period of life characterized by physiological and psychic
change that marks the end of the reproductive capacity of women and
terminates with the completion of menopause.
climax : a relatively stable ecological stage or community especially of
plants that is achieved through successful adaptation to an environment
especially, the final stage in ecological succession.
corymbose : a usually flat-topped flower cluster in which the individual
flower stalks grow upward from various points of the main stem to approxi-
mately the same height.
cotyledon : a leaf of the embryo of a seed plant, which upon germination
either remains in the seed or emerges, enlarges, and becomes green.
cultivars : a race or variety of a plant that has been created or selected intentionally and maintained through cultivation.
cyanogenetic : pertaining to the production of cyanide.
cyme : a broad, flat-topped inflorescence in which the central flower is the
first to open (compare corymb ).
d.b.h. : diameter, breast height a standard method of expressing the
diameter of the trunk or bole of a standing tree. Breast height is defined
as 4.5 feet (1.37m) above the forest floor on the uphill side of the tree.
deciduous : falling off or shed seasonally or at a certain stage of develop-
ment in the life cycle.

decumbent : prostrate at the base but ascending at the end.
depuretive : used for or capable of depurating purifying purgative.
dessicate : the state of extreme dryness, or the process of extreme drying.
dioecious : having staminate and pistillate flowers on separate plants
(compare monoecious ).
diuretic : anything that promotes the formation of urine by the kidney.
drupe ( drupceous ): a fleshy indehiscent fruit enclosing a nut or hard
stone containing generally a single seed such as a peach or cherry charact-
eristic of a drupe.
edaphic : of or relating to soil, especially as it affects living organisms
influenced by the soil rather than by the climate.
emetic : a substance that induces vomiting when administered orally or
by injection.
emollient : making soft or supple soothing especially to the skin or
mucous membrane.
epicormic : of or pertaining to sprout development an epicormic sprout
is a shoot that arises from latent or adventitious buds. Also known as a
water sprout, they form on stems and branches, and suckers produced
from the base of trees. In older wood, epicormic shoots can result from
severe defoliation or radical pruning.
fascicle : a small cluster or bundle, a fairly common leaf arrangement.
foliar: of or relating to leaves.
frugivores : an animal that feeds primarily on fruit.
glabrous : smooth, without hairs.
glaucous : covered with a thin, light-colored waxy or powdery bloom.
herbaceous : fleshy-stemmed, not woody.
hermaphroditic : an species in which reproductive organs of both sexes
are present.
hybrid ( hybridize ): the offspring of two animals or plants of different
breeds, varieties, species, or genera, esp. as produced through human
manipulation the process of creating a hybrid.
hypanthium : a cup-shaped enlargement of the receptacle, creation by
the fusion of sepals, petals and stamens.
inceptisols : a soil order in USDA soil taxonomy. They form quickly
through alteration of parent material.
inflorescence : the flowering portion of a plant.
infrataxa : a taxon at a rank below that of species ("within the species").
lenticel ( lenticellate ): a lenticel is an opening that allows gases to be
exchanged between air and the inner tissues of a plant. Characteristic of
a lenticel.
mesic : describes a habitat that is generally moist throughout the growing
season (compare xeric ).
mesophytic : adapted to growing under medium or average conditions,
especially relating to water supply.
monoecious : having both male and female flowers on the same plant
(compare dioecious ).
mycorrhizal : having a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and the
root of a plant.
nectaries : a glandlike organ, located outside or within a flower, that
secretes nectar.
outbreeding : the breeding of distantly related or unrelated individuals,
often producing a hybrid of superior quality.
overstory : a level of tree growth, often called the canopy, made up of the
very tallest trees that stand over the rest of the plants.
ovoid : an egg-shaped solid.
pedicel : the stalk of a single flower that is part of an inflorescence.
perfect : containing both stamens and pistils.
pericap : the outer wall of mature fruit.
phenotype ( phenotypic ): the observable physical or biochemical
characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and
environmental influences. Of or pertaining to a spenotype.
phytosociology : the study of the characteristics, classification, relation-
ships, and distribution of plant communities.
pinnate : with separate segments which are arranged feather-like on
either side of a common axis.
pistillate : a female flower that has two or more pistils but no functional
pith : a usually continuous central strand of spongy tissue in the stems of
most vascular plants that probably functions chiefly in storage.
polymorphism ( polymorphic ): the occurrence of different forms,
stages, or types in individual organisms or in organisms of the same species,
independent of sexual variations of or pertaining to polymorphism.
pommel : a fleshy indehiscent fruit derived from an inferior, compound
ovary and consisting of a modified floral tube surrounding a core with
several seeds, such as an apple.
preformed : already with definite shape or structure, as with leaves within
a bud.
pyrenes : the stone of certain fruits, such as the cherry.

rachis : the main stalk of a flower cluster or of a compound leaf, also that
part of a fern frond stem that bears the leaflets.
ramet : refers to individual plants in a clump, each portion of which is ident-
ical with the original parent plant.

Mexico's Tropical Dry Forests

Ecological characteristics

Definitions of TDF vary across studies. TDFs exhibit a range of structure, from tall, closed canopy to medium to low scrub. They have a dry season ranging from 3 to 6 months, sometimes longer, and average annual precipitation of less than 2000 mm. Altitude ranges from sea level to 1500 m, sometimes higher in very dry conditions, and annual mean temperature ranges from 20 °C to 29 °C with minimum temperatures above freezing ( Ceballos and García, 1995 ). Annual growth is correlated with wet-season rainfall and fire is rare.

The dominant woody plant groups in Mexican TDFs are Fabaceae (legume family) and Burseraceae (torchwood or incense tree family). Fabaceae are important in forest growth and recovery due to their ability to fix nitrogen and support the growth of other plants.

Bursera is made up of about 100 species, 84 of which are found in Pacific slope TDFs in México, 80 of which are endemic ( Becerra, 2005 ). By tracing the diversification of Bursera trees, scientists estimate that Mexico's TDFs likely originated during the Miocene epoch ( Becerra, 2005 ). Bursera trees were the source of sacred incense in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures and play important ecological roles in the forest because they are an important source of nectar and fruit in the dry season. When the leaves drop, specialist insectivores may have to disperse but birds with diet plasticity can make use of facultative resources and switch to fruit. Myiarchus flycatchers are particularly efficient dispersers of Bursera seed because they effectively digest the lipids in the seed coating and often perch on Fabaceae trees which act as nurse plants for germination ( Almazán-Núñez et al., 2018 ).

Epiphytes make up close to 5% of the plant diversity in TDFs and have adaptations to maximize water uptake and storage. They contribute significantly to forest structure and function by providing shelter, water, and appropriate microhabitat conditions for other species ( Novais et al., 2020 ).

In TDFs many woody species have conspicuous flowers and moths and butterflies account for the pollination of at least 10% of the plant species ( Juan-Baeza et al., 2015 ). Birds and bats also act as pollinators, with bats pollinating most columnar cacti and thousands of other plants. In a study of nectar-feeding bats in Colima, Sperr et al. (2011) found that during the dry season, pollen was detectable on 92% of captured bats, and a single bat carried 19 different types of pollen. In contrast to rainforests, most lianas and many trees in TDFs are wind dispersed.

Dead woody material can make up more than one-third of above-ground biomass in TDFs. Termites play a key ecological role in the forests in terms of plant decomposition, nutrient cycling, and soil structure ( Fig. 4 ). Termites make up from 40% to 95% of soil macrofauna in TDFs and termite diversity is high. A single forest reserve was found to support 30 termite species from three families—Termitidae, Kalotermitidae, and Rhinotermitidae ( Calderón-Cortés et al., 2018 ).

Fig. 4 . Termite diversity and abundance are high in tropical dry forest.

Arboreal termite mound photo by Tierra Curry.

African baobab: Its role in enhancing nutrition, health, and the environment

Ifeyinwa Sabina Asogwa , . Johnpaul Ifechukwu Agbaka , in Trees, Forests and People , 2021

1 Introduction

A. digitata L. Malvaceae is a multipurpose tree termed African baobab by both the English and the French ( Kaboré et al., 2011 ). The tree belongs to the Malvaceae family ( Bremer et al., 2003 ) with great ecological tolerance which makes it valuable in both hot and dry cultivating conditions ( Buchmann et al., 2010 ). This beneficial tolerance is attributed to the thick fire-resistant bark, shedding of leaves, as well as possession of a trunk that can absorb water in the rainy season and contracts in the dry season ( Sidibe and Williams, 2002 ) ( Figs. 1 ).

Fig. 1 . A baobab tree in South Africa. Photograph: Alamy.

The genre Adansonia was coined from Adanson Micheal, (1727–1806) a French botanist name, who discovered a specimen on the islands of Sor, Senegal ( Adanson, 1771 ), while the term digitate (digitals of the hand or hand-like) was about the shape of the leaves of the African baobab tree ( Kamatou et al., 2011 Du Plessis and Doep, 2011 ) with a usual range of 5–7 leaflets ( Fig. 2 C). However, concerning physiological attributes, several other names have been ascribed to the African baobab, including “magic tree”, “chemist tree”, “symbol of the earth”, “monkey bread of Africa” ( Vermaak et al., 2011 ) “dead rat tree”, “cream of tartar”, etc. ( Rahul et al., 2015 ).

Fig. 2 . (a). African baobab Fruit shaped like a cocoa pod.

Fig. 2 . (b). African baobab Seeds with the unique kidney like shape.

Fig. 2 . (c). African baobab Leaf resembling the digit of the hand.

Fig. 2 . (d). African baobab Pulp usually dry and hard found within the fruit.

Fig. 2 . (e). The white opened African baobab flower.

African baobab is indigenous to the Savannah regions of Africa (16° N and 26° S), whilst several others have been identified in other tropical regions of the world ( Wickens, 2008 ). African baobab is an angiosperm - having flowers and producing seeds covered by a carpel, they are pachycauls, with thick stems. Records have shown that the African baobab tree is the oldest and largest surviving angiosperm ( Patrut et al., 2018 ) where some of them including the Panke of Zimbabwe (a sacred tree in Matabeleland North), Chapman of Botswana (a historic African baobab tree), are now dead. Initial growth of the African baobab tree is characterized by single stems which consequently develops to several other stems as a result of its characteristic ability to produce stems periodically. Importantly, a recent study ( Patrut et al., 2018 ) has highlighted the wood volume of the African baobab to range between 300 and 500 m 3 , aside the Platland tree (501 m 3 ), previously known to be the most advocated African baobab found the Limpopo province of South Africa ( Patrut et al., 2018 ).

Seed production has been recorded to begin between the ages of 8–23, while the mature tree (> 60 years) produces about 160–250 fruits annually ( UNCTAD, 2005 ).

Physiological examination of A. digitata reveals that it is a massive deciduous tree growing up to about 20–30 m (m) tall with a gigantic girth ranging between 20 and 35.10 m, with a circumference varying from 14.3 to 32.0 m, having a lifespan of up to 450 years ( Patrut et al., 2018 ). The smooth, reddish-brown or gray bark, possesses longitudinal fibers. The tree is substantially branched, producing a lateral system of about 50 m from the trunk ( Rahul et al., 2015 ). The root tips are usually in the form of tubers. ( Sidibe and Williams, 2002 ).

The flowers situated in the axils near the tips of the reproductive branches are white, large, pendulous ( Fig. 2 E), or solitary. ( Rahul et al., 2015 ). The large oval-shaped fruits ( Fig. 2 A) are filled with pulps ( Fig. 2 D) that are usually dry, hard and fragmented, looking like chunks of powdery dry bread. The seeds on the other hand are kidney-shaped, dark-brown or black, and usually hard ( Fig 2 B) ( Hankey, 2004 ).

Several parts of the plant are food sources especially for the rural dwellers ( Muok, 2019 ) and have also found use in traditional medicine for the treatment of several diseases ( Sidibe and Williams, 2002 ). Recently, the dried fruits were approved by the European Commission as a novel food ingredient ( Vassiliou, 2008 ). More so, the seeds can be eaten raw or in the processed form either roasted or otherwise ( Nnam and Obiakor, 2003 ). The seeds have a characteristic nutty flavor and are a very good source of energy and protein ( Murray et al., 2001 ).

What is this fleshy-stemmed plant? - Biology

An Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand

Tradescantia fluminensis
wandering Jew

Reproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Trailing, fleshy-stemmed, frost-tender perennial of shaded damp places, that tends to suppress all other ground cover. White, triangular flowers with three petals. Leaves dark green, shiny, smooth and slightly fleshy, arranged alternately on the stem.

  • Flowers White, triangular, about 2 cm in diameter, with three petals and three green sepals. Each flower is on a slender stalk up to 15 mm long, and the flowers are produced in small clusters at the ends of the stems. Flowers Dec-Jan.
  • Fruit Fruit not seen in NZ.
  • Leaves Dark green, shiny, smooth and somewhat fleshy. Broadly elliptical, 3-6 cm long, with short leaf stalks. Leaves pointed, with parallel veins and hairs on the leaf margins. Leaves abruptly narrowed at the base to a short sheath which loosely clasps the stem.
  • Stems Succulent, trailing, rooting at the nodes, and curved upwards at the tips.
  • Roots The stems produce roots at nodes wherever they contact the ground.


Damp shaded places in gardens, parks, banks, stream-sides and bush reserves.


Common to abundant in frost-free places throughout NI. Found locally in SI, near Westport, Havelock and Rarangi in Marlborough, and in Christchurch in Canterbury.


A serious problem especially in native bush, where it gives a dense ground cover that prevents regeneration of seedlings. This plant does not produce seeds in NZ, and regenerates only from stem fragments. Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Tradescantia for John Tradescant, 17th cent. botanist fluminensis (Lat.) = from Rio de Janeiro.

Web-notes: Weed Links

On this site

External Links

Weedbusters New Zealand Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem. AgPest
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management. New Zealand Weeds Key An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.
New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalised and weedy plants. New Zealand Plant Protection Society Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects." Massey University Weeds Database A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

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Monophyly, divergence times, and evolution of host plant use inferred from a revised phylogeny of the Drosophila repleta species group

We present a revised molecular phylogeny of the Drosophila repleta group including 62 repleta group taxa and nine outgroup species based on four mitochondrial and six nuclear DNA sequence fragments. With ca. 100 species endemic to the New World, the repleta species group represents one of the major species radiations in the genus Drosophila. Most repleta group species are associated with cacti in arid or semiarid regions. Contrary to previous results, maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenies of the 10-gene dataset strongly support the monophyly of the repleta group. Several previously described subdivisions in the group were also recovered, despite poorly resolved relationships between these clades. Divergence time estimates suggested that the repleta group split from its sister group about 21 million years ago (Mya), although diversification of the crown group began ca. 16 Mya. Character mapping of patterns of host plant use showed that flat leaf Opuntia use is common throughout the phylogeny and that shifts in host use from Opuntia to the more chemically complex columnar cacti occurred several times independently during the history of this group. Although some species retained the use of Opuntia after acquiring the use of columnar cacti, there were multiple, phylogenetically independent instances of columnar cactus specialization with loss of Opuntia as a host. Concordant with our proposed timing of host use shifts, these dates are consistent with the suggested times when the Opuntioideae originated in South America. We discuss the generally accepted South American origin of the repleta group.

Graphical abstract


► Added species and DNA characters resolved monophyly of the large Drosophila repleta group. ► Bayesian estimates of divergence times suggested the group originated in South America. ► Character mapping of host plants revealed convergent evolution across the phylogeny. ► Host cactus divergence allowed colonization of North America.

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