Euphorbia obesa f. cristata (Crested Baseball Plant)

Scientific Name

Euphorbia obesa f. cristata

Accepted Scientific Name

Euphorbia obesa Hook.

Common Names

Crested Baseball Plant, Crested Sea Urchin

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia


Euphorbia obesa f. cristata is a very rare crested form of Euphorbia obesa. It is a fascinating succulent plant with strong, dark green, fan-shaped branches, forming a snaky ridge or crowded cluster.


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

As Baseball Plant often grows in partial shade in its native habitat, place it on a windowsill where it receives sun for only part of the day, preferably during the morning. If you move the plant outdoors during the summer, adapt it to the increased light gradually and position it under the high shade of a tree or shrub, where it will receive direct sunlight only at times of the day when the sun is not directly overhead. If it begins to lose its plaid coloring, it needs more light.

Like most succulents, Baseball Plant will rot in soggy soil, so keep it in a clay pot filled with a potting mix intended for cacti and succulents. Use a pot with at least one drainage hole. If you don't have such a mix available, you can create your own.

From spring through fall, water the plant thoroughly about once a week until water runs from the pot's drainage holes. At each watering, add a liquid 10-10-10 plant food at one-quarter strength, which should be about two drops of the plant food in 1 quart of water. Stop fertilizing the plant during its dormant winter period, and allow its soil to dry out before you water it again.

Only repot the plant when its girth grows large enough to press against the edges of its current container. Handle the plant carefully, preferably wearing gloves, because the white sap it exudes when broken can irritate the skin.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.


Euphorbia obesa f. cristata is a crested form of Euphorbia obesa.


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Euphorbia obesa f. cristata (Crested Baseball Plant) - garden

Accepted Scientific Name: Euphorbia obesa Hook.f.
Bot. Mag. 129: t. 7888. 1903

Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)

Description: Euphorbia obesa f. monstruosa cristata is name used to indicate a number of clones with different monstrous and crested shapes. The stems slowly branch showing many growing variations, forming irregular mounded clumps often with several heads. This crested forms are rare and sought after by collectors, for their unique features. There are several and variously shaped and sized crested clones. Sometime monstrous and crested shapes are the result of injures or diseases.
Stem: Fan shaped, forming strange, tangled mounds, solid, firm, with a variable width of 2 to 10 cm, grey green, iron-grey, bluish-green or brown-green with very attractive transverse red-brown or dull purplish bands and with finely marked longitudinal seams marking its surface, creating an almost plaid effect.
Ribs: Broad, irregularly shaped, slightly raised with shallow furrows in between.
Leaves: The leaves are very rudimentary, minuscule and soon drop off
Flowers: This Euphorbia is unisexual with the small, greyish green cyathia normally being all male on some plants, or all female on others. Therefore cross pollination between a male and a female plant is required to produce seeds. Pollination usually carried out by insects. All euphorbias have a complex floral arrangement that is termed a cyathium (a cup) and this is the unit of the inflorescence. A cyathium contains many highly reduced male flowers or a single female flower. In Euphorbia obesa, the cyathia appear in summer, from "circular flowering eyes", situated along the tops of the angles, near the growing tip, on the stem. They are produced on fork-branched peduncles (flower stalks), have minute bracts and are finely hairy. The cyathia are cup-shaped to 3 mm in diameter, expanding in the female.The tiny flowers are delicately scented
Fruits: The fruit is a slightly 3-angled capsule , up to 7 mm in diameter that explosively releases the seeds. The peduncles do not persist, and fall off after the seed has been dispersed.
Seeds: Small rounded 2 mm diameter mottled grey when mature.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Euphorbia obesa group

Euphorbia obesa f. monstruosa cristata Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Euphorbia obesa f. monstruosa cristata Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

Cultivation and Propagation: It is not too difficult in a greenhouse, although grows quite slowly. It is usually seen as a grafted plant but can grow on its own roots too.
Soil: Use a mineral well permeable soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Exposure: They need a good amount of light shade to full sun this help to keep the plants healthy, although slow growth.
Watering: Water sparingly from March till October (weekly during summertime, if the weather is sunny enough), with a little fertilizer added. Less or no water during cold winter months, or when night temperatures remain below 10° to prevent root loss. It is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone).
Fertilization: Feeding may not be necessary at all if the compost is fresh then, feed in summer only if the plant hasn't been repotted recently. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.
Hardiness: Keep perfectly dry in winter at temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees centigrade. (but it is relatively cold resistant and hardy to -5° C, or possibly colder for short periods) In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!! (Temperature Zone: USDA 9-11)
Crested growth: Unlike 'monstrose' varieties of plants, where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation, crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for no apparent reason. If you have any of the crested part left you need to remove the normal growth and leave the crested part behind this will need to be done regularly.
Propagation: Grafting or cuttings. Plants are usually grafted onto column-shaped cacti but proved to be able to produce their own roots if degrafted. Cuttings will take root in a minimum temperature of 20° C (but better in hot weather). Cuttings of healthy shoots can be taken in the spring and summer. Cut the stem with a sharp, sterile knife, leave the cutting in a warm, dry place for a week or weeks (depending on how thick the cutting is) until a callus forms over the wound. Once the callus forms, the cutting may be inserted in a container filled with firmed cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit. They should be placed in the coarse grit only this prevents the cut end from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost underneath. The cuttings should root in 2 to 6 weeks. Large crested piece must be placed on the soil surface without burying the plant base down in the soil.

About Euphorbia Obesa

  • Euphorbia Obesa plants are a great example of convergent evolution. Living in similar environmental conditions, they closely resemble Astrophytum Asterias, which is a cacti species from Mexico.
  • Besides their common name, these plants are also known as Basketball Plant, Baseball Cactus, Golf Ball, Sea Urchin, Gingham, and Living Baseball.
  • Euphorbia Obesa plants can be found growing under the protection of tiny shrubs or among boulders in sandy soils.
  • They are easy-care plants that do not require regular repotting and are not frequently bothered by pests. Less work for you!
  • Baseball plants are dependent on light. They prefer warm conditions similar to those from their natural habitat, but they can also withstand cooler temperatures.
  • Indoors, these plants do well in a sunny place, while outdoors, they will appreciate the morning sun and some partial shade in the afternoon.
  • They prefer to grow in a slightly acidic soil that has good drainage. A mix designed for cacti and succulents is an excellent medium choice.
  • These plants produce a white, milky sap called latex. Like all Euphorbia species, their latex is toxic to cats, dogs, and humans.

Baseball Plant (Euphorbia obesa) – Succulent plants

Baseball Plant (Euphorbia obesa) is a decorative, thornless succulent plant. It is commonly known as ‘baseball plant’ due to its shape and its diameter is between 6 cm and 15 cm depending on its age. Young Euphorbia obesa is spherical but become cylindrical with age. They contain water reservoirs for periods of drought. It has rudimentary, caducous leaves and usually 8 vertical, broad, slightly raised ribs with shallow furrows in between. The small inflorescence is borne on short peduncle from stem apices. The female and male flower are born on different plants. The fruit is a slightly 3-angled capsule up to 7 mm in diameter. The sap of Euphorbia obesa is poisonous.

Scientific Classification:

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia

Scientific Name: Euphorbia obesa
Common Names: Baseball Plant, Baseball, Basketball Plant, Basketball, Sea Urchin, Living Baseball, Gingham, Golf Ball, Vetmensie, Klipnoors.

How to grow and maintain Baseball Plant (Euphorbia obesa) :

It requires full sunlight all year long. In summer, plants can be moved outdoors to benefit from the increased temperatures and increased exposure to daylight. Growing the plants close to a window is usually sufficient to provide the needed light in cooler temperatures for a winter dormancy period.

It grows well in well-draining, gritty soil or cactus potting mix. Add a little gravel to the soil and use an unglazed pot which will promote evaporation of any excess water.

You can allow the soil to dry out between each watering. Before watering the plant check underneath the pot through the drainage holes to see if the roots are dry. If so then add some water. Do not water too often to prevent overwatering, that can potentially kill it off. In mid-autumn gradually reduce the amount of water given. During the winter rest period water the plants only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out.

It prefers an optimal temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit – 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 16 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius.

Fertilize every two weeks with a diluted balanced liquid fertilizer during its growing season in the spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing your plant during the fall and winter months.

It can be easily propagated from seed sown during spring or summer. Sow in a sandy to gravel-rich, well-drained potting soil in a sunny warm position and in a standard seed tray. Cover seed with a thin layer of sand 1-2mm and keep moist. Germination occurs within 3 weeks. The seedlings have a slow to medium growth rate and can be planted out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle.

Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems.

Watch the video: My Euphorbia obesa plants are stressed

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