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Octopus Tree

Octopus Tree
Photo Information
Copyright: Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-06-07
Categories: Desert
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Tamron 28-300 XR
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2005-06-22 3:58
Viewed: 7379
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

African Ocotillo
Alluaudia procera

Alluaudia procera, or Madagascar Ocotillo / Octapus Tree,
is a perennial, deciduous, succulent tree native to Madagascar. It has small rounded leaves and greyish trunks with a lot of spines. The plants will reach 60 feet tall in nature and are usually unbranched. In Madagascar, the wood of the plant is used in building and for charcoal.

This plant from Madagascar is an example of CONVERGENT EVOLUTION - unrelated plants adapting similar shapes and survival strategies in response to the same environmental conditions. The island of Madagascar is located 200 miles off the SE coast of Africa and evolved isolated from the influence of any other landmass for millions of years. It is estimated that 80% of Madagascarís 10,000 plant species are found nowhere else in the world.

There are eleven species of this native family Didiereaceae in the Ďspiny desertí found in the islandís semi-arid southwest. African ocotillo grows in areas that may receive no rain for more than a year. It can withstand extended periods of drought, yet lacks the water storage tissues associated with most true succulents.

Its leaves first emerge horizontally then turn vertical. It starts out as a horizontal mass of tangled branches (like octopus arms) that matures into a vertical tower of stems reaching over 30 feet high. The small, rounded, succulent green leaves clothe the stems during the warm wet season and drop off during any lengthy dry periods or with the onset of winter. Clusters of tiny white flowers are borne at the tip of the spine-covered stems on separate male and female plants.

I feel quite sad reading how human activity in Madagascar has degraded over 80% of the Madagascan landscape, burning down the disappearing forests for agriculture, etc. An impoverished population relies principally on slash and burn agriculture and other forms of subsistence living. The rapidly disappearing forests of Alluaudias are cut down to provide fodder for cattle, for building materials and for the making of charcoal. The countryís valuable, red topsoil erodes off the denuded land and bleeds out to sea, resulting in Madagascar being called the Red Island.


This is another of the plants I found at Auckland Domainís Wintergardens, but fortunately this one was named. I liked the look of this plant. It was about 6 foot in height.

dew77, liquidsunshine, red45, sAner, jagathcham, Comandante, Signal-Womb, marhowie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To marhowie: Thanks HowardJanice 1 06-23 07:11
To red45: SucculentJanice 1 06-22 05:29
To cafecrem: Cactus/Succulent ClubJanice 1 06-22 04:57
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-06-22 4:02]

Hello janice!
Very nice capture.Lighting,framing,colourful and blurred BG and composition are excellent.

Nice shot Janice,
Excellent detail, colours and sharpness.
Well composed and exposed.
Well captured, thanks for posting

Hi janice!
I love our cacti club! maybe it isn't classical cactus but looks really similar. Superb shot and great note, Janice!

Hi Janice, very interesting plant.
Colorful photo, good sharpness and details.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-06-22 4:39]
  • [+]

As Pieter usually says - RAZOR sharp! Or maybe cactus sharp this time. I love cacti and all suculents [is word suculent in English? I don't know]. In Botanical Garden there is area with these plants and I like this place most. Superb capture Janice, great composition, colours and first of all shapes. Great note also.

hello Jancie:) another great shot:) I like ur OCTOPUS TREE:) beauty compo and colours also I like:) great work:)



  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-06-22 6:46]

Hello Janice,

This is a very nice photo. What a strange plant! Well composed, good details and nice POV. Exposure is very good too. Well done & TFS!


You have excellent use of light here.
Kind of interesting compo too.

Hello Janice!
Wonderful artistic capture again.Colors,lighting,DOF,drtails and composition are perfect.Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-06-22 9:57]

Janice, I enjoy this a lot. Great impact, excellent sharpness; the oof bg works very well.

A great shot.

  • Great 
  • Graal Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 751 W: 31 N: 20] (5100)
  • [2005-06-22 16:13]

Janice, it's superb shot. I likevery much. Well done.

Yes Janice, this is very nice the composition, the colours and details it looks so sharp it would draw blood. Nice work.

I have to hand it to you Jancie, You're coming up with some interesting plants lately! Very good details and colors, especially like the OOF colors in your BG, Well done & TFS!

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