Caudiciform conundrums?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I am new to the Caudiciform forum. After having come here to read a thread about a plant I grow, I avidly read thru all the previous threads of interest and found that apparently I grow quite a few Caudiciforms without even knowing what it means.

Next I went out to other sites to try to educate myself further and found even more plants that are considered Caudiciforms that I have acquired over the years. I have read that even Crinums are considered a Caudiciform. Is that only the ones that bulb above ground? Or all of them?

Drimia kirkii is one favorite...

Thumbnail by podster
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

In years past, I've been given plants that I like and add other plants in the same family. One type is the Cissus. I received Cissus quadrangularis and Cissus rotundifolia, neither one would be a Caudiciform but then found a Cissus tuberose which is a Caudiciform.

So now, I am totally confused.

Can you tell me what (in your opinion) Caudiciform means?

Please show me types you grow?

Any special favorites?

Please share photos.


Thumbnail by podster
Arlington, TX

Swollen, water holding stem and sometimes root. At least thats what it means in terms of adenium.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for that information... even the DG GardenBotanary doesn't have Caudiciform in its' listings.

I would guess the Bowiea volubis ~ climbing onion or sea onion will fit in the Caudiciform category.

Thumbnail by podster
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Another favorite that will fit into that category is the Ornithogalum caudatum. Commonly known as pregnant onion.

Does anyone else have any other types of Caudiciforms they love?

Thumbnail by podster
Colton, CA(Zone 8b)

Podster, Since you are not getting much response to your question, I am going to jump in and try to help with the little I think I know. Caudiciform and/or packycaul plants are not clearly defined, but seem to enclude plants, from any family, that have the characteristic of storing water against drought conditions. The water can be stored in enlarged roots, swollen trunks and stems or fat leaves. The term "fat plants" kind of generally describes them. There is a great deal of variability in the form of these plants but one thing they all have in common is the ability to store and later use water to survive during a drought. Now hopefully someone who knows more and can explain it better will also respond to your question. Don


This message was edited Sep 20, 2010 8:18 AM

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks much Don ~ I appreciate it. I am amazed there is so little interest in these fine plants. Or is it just lost in this forum?

Colton, CA(Zone 8b)

Podster, The interest is growing and especially in the plants that can be treated like a bonsai. There is a series of two books by Rudy Lime that is very informative and beautifully illustrated. You might look for it (them) or ask for it at your library. This forum seems to have evolved into an Addenium forum. I love Addeniums but there is a whole lot more out there. Don

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

For those of you who are interested, there's a very active "Fat Plants" forum on Yahoo:http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Fat-Plants/

Colton, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks faeden. I am going to take a look at that site right now. Don

I logged onto and joined the fat plant group. Looks like there is a wealth of information, but it going to take some time for this old man to get up to speed on the somewhat confusing format. I am sure I will master it, if I live long enough. Don

This message was edited Sep 20, 2010 10:52 AM

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

You're welcome. It does take a while to figure out the best way to maneuver through all the old threads, but it's worth it!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm off to see the "fat plant" wizard too. Thanks much!

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

You're welcome. The person who moderates the group is Jerry Wright, who owns Great Petaluma Desert: http://www.gpdesert.com/

Colton, CA(Zone 8b)

faeden, Me bad, I forgot to say thank you. Never did have any social graces. Don

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

No, Don, you forgot that you had ALREADY said "thank you"!! LOL!! That's OK, I have CRS too, or maybe it's A.A.A.D.D.: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/740291/

Decatur, GA

I thought it was AOADD (Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder). I have been afflicted for many years now. :-)
Helen

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

If so, how did you remember it? LOL!!!

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Caucidiforms, I love them, some for flower, some strangeness some just because they are alive:
Anomatheca laxa, Beaucarnea recurvata, Drimia harworthoides, Fockea edulis, Fockea capensis, Haemanthus albiflos, Ledebouria socialis, Ledebouria cf lutea, Massonia cf depressa, Orinthogalum caudatum Pachypodium desiflorium, and 7 Pelargoniums with caudices, Pseudobombax ellipticum, Raphionacme burkei, Sinningia canescens, Uncarina decaryi.

And it all started so innocently when i got my first pelar P cotyledonis, and U. decaryi at the Huntington show and sale. And while in Petaluma this year , I dropped by the GPD and met the man, Jerry, himself. Next time remind me to bring hundreds not tens when I go by.

But I am also into bulbs as I have recently acquired Hippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifolium and an unknown Clivia. Which has lead me to the Pacific Bulb Society and wondering about my Colchium.

And I am still on my search for Marah oreganus a locally common caucidform in the Cucumber family. A local club member got mad at the seeds, and took a handful throwing them across his yard. I am now offering to help dig his yard. But tomorrow I go to a very likely place and look for the fruits.

Where does it end? No idea, but if the plants can winter outside, or the are ugly with great flowers, or just bizarre, I am happy.

Thumbnail by AnalogDog
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank you ~ Analogdog!!! I love your list... I need to go look some of them up.

That is exactly the kind of passion I was hoping for. I am surprised that more people aren't really obsessed with these unique plants. It was one of your threads that brought me over here to the Caudiciform forum Prior to that, I thought this was only an Adeniums forum.

Quoting:
Where does it end? No idea, but if the plants can winter outside, or the are ugly with great flowers, or just bizarre, I am happy.
I do understand your obsession totally! Odd though, I expected to encounter more closet fanatics.

edited to ask? is that one of your pelargoniums?

This message was edited Sep 21, 2010 6:52 AM

Thumbnail by podster
Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Nope, that looks like a Beaucarnia recorvata to me, my pelargoniums look more like this:

Thumbnail by AnalogDog
Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

And personally from seeing plants from all over listed at Caucidiforms, I would say that it is a stem or tuber designed for plant survival during periods of dryness. For a longer explaination, see Birhmann's explaination at http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/DIV/intro.asp and to see what qualifies, back up the chain and look at the plants.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

LOL ~ silly! I meant the photo in your post of Sept 20th at 11:13pm ~ is that one of your pelargoniums?

My Beaucarnea and I had been around many years. If I had looked back at an older photo, I might have seen its' decline. It actually shrunk and this summer I found it was rotting and too far gone.

I have been touring the Bihrmann site. Thanks much as it is full of information.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

Another nice thing about caudiforms is it can look pretty great as "bonsais". I've loved bonsai plants for ever, but it has one drawback for me, that is it does take lots of time. When we go on holiday, it is always an issue....I am now moving to caudiforms because they naturally make amazing stems and they do look great in bonsai pots, but the best thing is that many can handle a bit of holiday. For me this is a win-win situations because it combined my love for succulents and bonsai!

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Yes, that is P transvaalense which has been raised to show a nice caudex. Not to mention nice red/green leaves. I have a P triste that I got from the same guy, and want to get its caudex back in the dirt to fatten up a bit.

Now, if you really want to see pelars go to http://geraniaceae.com/ and go to species Pelargoniums and find the ones with caudexes. Bet you can't leave without spending some card. My P. worchesterae is going dormant with 2 seed pods, he, he, he.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Little_Things ~ do you find it necessary to shape the foliage on the caudiciforms to maintain the Bonsai shape?

I can appreciate their easy care when other moisture dependent plants will shrivel. I still have to provide protection from too much rain.



AnalogDog ~ Thanks for the link to the Pelargoniums. Let me hide the "get stuff free" card before I look ~ LOL

Interesting to bury the caudex to fatten it up. Wonder what triggers that? Any thoughts?

Colton, CA(Zone 8b)

Podster, possibly because growing buried is natural and raising it to show off the swollen roots interupts normal root growth? Just my guess. Don

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

That would make sense. These plants apparently need smaller pots to push them up and out?

Colton, CA(Zone 8b)

podster, Don't know anything about that. I do know that when the roots reach a size and shape that is desirable they are usually put in a shallow bonsai type pot for show. I believe this entails trimming the roots to fit. The guys that know how to do this produce some beautiful and dramatically staged plants. Don

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I have seen photos of those examples and they are amazing!

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

It was suggested that I do not rebury the P triste but plant it in a bigger container, which I have and will do, as the caudex is already accustomed to being exposed. The bigger pot will allow for more caudex and root growth underneath the soil.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Have you removed it from the pot before to see how much root system it has under the soil level?

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

I just repotted it. It appeared to be holding soil well in the little pot, and I just added enough soil to the pot to allow it to stay at the same grade. There must be 4-5x the amount of soil for the plant now, and the pot looks right sized. TG for Goodwill and 3 dollar bonzi pots I never know I will need. But I would say the plant is doing well now as it is in its growth period.

Dandridge, TN(Zone 6a)

This guy has some fantastic plants and pots. I believe he makes his own pots, too. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/with/5027093297/

The caudiciforms do look nice as bonsai, but I can't help but feel sorry for the plants in those small pots! Kind of like me in the jeans I've grown out of, ha ha!

I love caudiciforms too, I used to focus on them but then went into Aroids and tropicals, now I'm back with caudiciforms and especially pachycaul trees.

Anything odd or unusual, I love it!

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

One of the things I am working toward is a P. alterans like this: http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/subs/pel-alt-sub.asp (top photo) alterans gets this shape naturally if one allows a natural growing cycle: watering from early February to late April, then from early August to late November and allowing 2 rest periods. Alterans can also be grown with 1 or no rest, but the plants often are frowned upon in Judging.

And a Pseudobombax ellipticum like http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/subs/pse-ell-sub.asp (bottom photos) where the growing stem is cut back annually and the plant starts a new one with much of the growth into the tuber. I have seen some stupendous ones in real life.

Yardley, PA

Hi, I have been in love with caudiciforms since the 90's. I have about 80. It is very addictive. The caudiciforms have a caudex which I believe is more of a swollen trunk or roots.
The bulbs, I don't believe, are caudiciforms, but I may be wrong. That was always just my belief.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

O.K. ~ that was one thing I was curious about. I've seen these bulbs posted in Bulbs forum, in Cacti & Succulents forum and in Caudiciforms forum. That was part of why I began this thread. Anyone else have any thoughts or opinions?

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

Bulbs are not considered caudiciforms. However, some bulbs, like Bowiea, Drimias, Ornithogalums, Haemanthus, Ledebourias, and Massonias are typically grown with C&S so are usually included there rather than in a Bulbs forum.

This is a pretty good definition of a caudex: "The thickened, usually underground base of the stem of many perennial herbaceous plants, from which new leaves and flowering stems arise." A bulb is not considered a perennial herbaceous plant.

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Your list is good Faeden, but It seems to me that many of them are able in nature to store water and food for the next cycle. Tulips, Fall Crocus, and Crocus don't seem to store water as if not given any will not bloom or flower. As collectors of these plants we can distort the original growth regime and they seem unable to grow without water. Or are they just waiting for the rain to burst out. If then, it throws the idea of a caudex into the wind as very few plants meet that standard of holding water and growing based on it. I still like how weird they look.

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

Bulbs, corms, et al. will begin their growth based on the time of year as well as how much water they get. If they get water and the wrong time of year many of them will die. But this doesn't define them as caudiciforms.

I like a lot of the weirder bulbs too - they seem to fit well with the C&S plants.

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.
BACK TO TOP