Fascinating fasciation produces deformed, but beautiful, plants

A common abnormality creates odd shapes and patterns

Friday, January 9, 2015

Found at Fairchild
by Kenneth Setzer

A plant abnormality known as fasciation results in plant growth that instead of being more or less columnar in shape is instead flattened, like a fan or shoehorn. The abnormal growth has been noted as caused by extreme cold, physical trauma to the plant, bacteria, fungi—in short, just about anything can trigger it.

In fall 2014's The Tropical Garden, I wrote in more detail about fasciations. Of course, after publication I found even more spectacular and varied examples of the deformity, which I'd like to share here:

Fasciated bouquet of firespike (odontonema strictum) blooms

Here's the same bouquet shot from above. Looks quite aquatic!:

Finally, Fairchild's plant recorder was kind enough to show me a Plumeria volunteer growing in our pinelands area. It is indeed fasciated:

Though I haven't seen any fasciated plumeras for sale, fasciated euphorbias are common and can often be found in the cacti section of nurseries and garden stores. One to look for is Euphorbia lactea 'cristata.' The 'cristata' indicates the type of fasciation, in the euphorbias' case informally called "crested."