It is not every day that one sees such a really huge specimen of Euphorbia tirucalli, the rubber-hedge Euphorbia. Plant descriptions often give a typical size that a plant likely to be found by the reader might reach, i.e. an average height. But plants do not stop growing abruptly like people or many animals. They grow more slowly as they get older, but the conditions like soil type and depth, rainfall and temperature and still more factors determine how big they’ll get. So, if a normal distribution of height reached by all the plants of a species could be made, it would have to relate to age, micro-habitat and other factors impacting on the measurement taken in each case.
Botanical gardens have special advantages as far as growing bigger perennial plants and trees are concerned. Continued good treatment over long periods by professionally expert botanists and horticulturists surely contributes to this. But the long term plant care as the dedicated function of the place itself also contributes. This makes visits to the nine National Botanical Gardens of South Africa, or wherever in the world one finds these special sites especially useful.
The big stems of this Euphorbia tirucalli or kraalmelkbos (with just a few of the characteristic thin green stems to help identification) can be observed at Kirstenbosch. As well as so much more!