Thursday, April 1, 2010

Miraculotuberum, a New Caudiciform Succulent

Exciting discoveries in the plant world always seem to come from remote mountains in strange and foreign places, such as Canada. It came as a shock to the botanical community when a large and distinctive new caudex-forming succulent plant—Miraculotuberum stopandshopensis—was found right here in the northeastern United States.

Miraculotuberum stopandshopensis in the greenhouse of an anonymous collector.

Miraculotuberum was first collected in 2008, near Nyack, New York, by famed explorer and succulent plant enthusiast Dr. Don Javranos, seen in this video discussing his find. Little is known about the plant’s habitat, and the exact location is being kept secret. Presumably, M. stopandshopensis grows in a temperate desert environment, although desert conditions are uncommon in suburban New York. The plant exhibits several adaptations to life in an arid climate, including an absence of foliage leaves, and a thick waxy coating to prevent desiccation. The spectacular caudex of Miraculotuberum has a bitter taste and sulfurous smell, which deter herbivory by animals and children.

In cultivation, Miraculotuberum is challenging, and plants frequently fail to establish even under the best conditions. Given its northern range, Miraculotuberum is probably winter-hardy, and might make for an interesting addition to an outdoor cactus and succulent bed. Plants are not yet widely available, though they are offered on eBay, where large specimens imported from New York have sparked bidding wars among growers of caudiciform plants, and sold for thousands of dollars. Ironically, it is rumored that ignorant local people in Miraculotuberum’s native habitat sell specimen-size plants to unscrupulous nurserymen for as little as 19 cents per pound.


arbornic said...

I think you have misidentified the plant, the correct name here in Storrs is Miraculotuberum bigyensis. Nick @ Floriculture

Julie said...

19 cents a pound??? Lawsy!

This was a really amazing discovery for that area, for sure, eh??? WOW!

Matt said...

Au contraire, Nick, the new Lexicon of Succulents lists M. bigyensis as a later synonym, along with the (now sadly extinct) M. shawesii. ;)

Anonymous said...

Friend, I need to know the name of that green one on the left side of the picture that makes that long filaments.
Ive one and some babies from the mother plant, but never found out nothing about it. Can you help me please? The person that gave me that called it "crystal ball" or "glass ball", but I also can´t found nothing with this name.
Im from Brazil.
My email is:

Thx in advance!

Matt said...


The green bulb is Bowiea volubilis, or Climbing Onion.

Genepaul said...

Hello Caudiciphiles,
This looks like a good site to inquire about an unidentified succulent I have. The plant (field collected in SA by name withheld), in all general aspects (habit, flowers, etc), looks and behaves very much like Bowiea volubilis except: the bulbs a just subsurface, a large bulb would be about half the size of a golf ball, the stem is smaller and much more finely dissected...a sort of B. volubilis nana or B. volubilis compacta (these names don't exist, but if it had a name, these would be appropriate) is it is a known compact growing form of B. volubilis (the only species in the genus Bowiea to my knowledge...which may be rather out of date) or another species? Any idea? Does anyone else have one?
Regards, Genepaul

Matt said...

There is another species of Bowiea, B. gariepensis, but your description sounds like Schizobasis. Try looking up photos of that genus, and see what you think.