Dangerous Germinations

Seems harmless enough, right?

So in my last post I wrote about the plant obsession that is slowly taking over my humble household. Since then, we’ve added several more plants into our growing jungle kingdom because we have no self-control. These are the new additions: a Blue Moon dwarf spruce, an agave plant, a pagoda plant, a dwarf juniper bush, a coleus plant, a variegated elephant plant, and a Madagascar Jewel. Because we lack self-control and foresight, we bought these plants without doing any kind of research first. We went with the buy now, ask later approach; an American trait. This is not a good thing. We should have done a little bit of research or had the peace of mind to at least google on a smartphone while we were choosing our darlings because, as it turns out, one of the plants we chose is a terrifying specimen of epically virile proportions. Exhibit A: The Madagascar Jewel. Or as I like to call it, The Sperm Shooter.

The Madagascar Jewel is a cactus-like succulent in the¬†Euphorbia family, which has over 2,000 species. Supposedly, it originates from Madagascar, but most believe it was cultivated by plant enthusiasts in greenhouses, not in the wild. All of this is well and good. It’s in the same family as poinsettias, so they can’t be all bad, right? What could be wrong with a plant that’s in the same family as pretty, red Christmas plants? Well, turns out these plants ejaculate poisonous sap. Yes, they ejaculate. They ejaculate poisonous sperm. Brings a whole new meaning to the family jewels, doesn’t it?

Wrong.

Being a novice plant enthusiast, I ignorantly had no idea that plants could shoot anything, let alone their man-juice. Then again, plants like the “tickle-me plant” shrivel up to the human touch, so I guess all plants are fair game for ridiculous habits that are ripe for dirty jokes. But this plant, this mysterious waxy-leaved plant actually shoots seeds, an “acrid milky fluid.” (Ew.) It literally ejaculates it’s own kind of semen. More research was required. Obviously.

Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of information on this plant, which is kind of surprising. I imagined that there would be thousands of videos on youtube showing in time lapse photography the slow-motion money-shot of the Madagascar Jewel in all of it’s ripened glory. But so far I have found none, which makes me want to set up a camera with unlimited film or space just to capture the event when it happens. However, this means that there is a ticking time tuber in my living room, fluffed and ready to blow at any moment.

I found some internet forums about the plant, and this post stood out among the rest:

For years I’ve been trying to identify these 2 plants that I inherited. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw pictures of it online, finally, a euphorbia leuconeura:) I stuck these plants with my collection of plants on my porch. This 1 plant finally caught my attention when it popped seeds onto my plate during a picnic on the porch with my son. That year I found seedlings had sprouted up to 15ft away, even in the yard. I then started harvesting seeds & growing these guys for about 3 years now and have over 20 differents sizes growing. Truly an amazing plant to watch grow. Just glad I actually know what it is & exactly how to care for it & glad that its poisonous. Guess gloves would be a good idea.

Dear God.

Let me get this straight. This plant popped seeds onto her plate during a picnic!? A family outing!? Who the hell does this plant think it is? What did this poor woman do to deserve inheriting such a creature? And 15 feet!? That’s over twice my height in distance. What kind of super spermoid plant is this thing? And why is it being sold at friendly local nurseries? Based on the rest of that forum this plant is being cared for in places like Alaska and Michigan and good ol’ Washington state. And it supposedly originated in Madagascar. 15 feet makes sense, I guess. It’s propagating over oceans and continents!

So what can I do about this teenage nightmare plant? Apparently, some people wrap gauze around the seed pods to control the seed spray. Meaning, people have invented and are fitting condoms for their Madagascar Jewels. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I’d own a plant that needed a prophylactic. Nature. Who knew?

Until the time that I notice my plant’s jewels becoming swollen with pollen and seeds, I wait. For now it sits on top of the fridge, ostracized from the rest of the plant family, which makes me feel like a prude. And even if I might secretly want to maybe accidentally kill this thing, turns out it thrives on indirect sunlight, so it will survive happily in the corner of the kitchen, watching the others from a safe distance.

Bonus material: Plants that are NSFW.

 

8 Comments

  • Cathie Smathie says:

    This made my morning 100,000 times better. I laughed so many times.
    I love the idea of ostracizing this “teenage nightmare plant.”
    But this was, by far, my favorite line:
    “ticking time tuber in my living room, fluffed and ready to blow at any moment.”
    Amazing.

    Also, I laughed my way through 1/2 that video, then realized I was at work and how it might look if someone walked by.

  • KatrinaOakes says:

    Thank you for your post. I too recently became a plant enthusiast and a friend gave me this plant, I didn’t know what it was, but stuck it in the living room window. It wasn’t happy there, it lost ALL of it’s leaves and I thought it was dying so I moved it to my bathroom. It has started to grow back some leaves. I haven’t seen any seed pods yet, but will look out for them. The only reason I came across your blog here was because I was looking for information on it when my kitten got a hold of one of the leaves that had fallen off. I know now that it’s poisonous and that’s good to know, I have children too, but couldn’t find out any information on what it’s gonna do to my cat who chose to take a fallen leaf out of the pot and chew it up. I still have found NOTHING. I have found a site that listed all kinds of reactions to plants that cats have and what to do, but nothing about this plant. The Euphorbia Leuconeura might be popular but there is little known about it, especially reactions from pets who are exposed to it.

    • Katrina says:

      Hi Katrina,

      If you think your cat has eaten the plant, I’d call your vet. Just in case your cat has a reaction to it. Especially if your cat is acting strangely. They’ll be able to give you advice on what to do.

      I wish I had better advice for your Madagasgar plant. I have since thrown mine away. Unless you’re attached to it, I’d say pitch it. Or give it to someone else.

      Good luck and I hope your kitty is okay!

  • Beni says:

    This has got to be the worst overreaction anyone has ever had because of a plant. It does not shoot sperm. It shoots seeds. Not jizz. The plant itself is poisonous but then again most indoor houseplants are. Get a grip on reality and chill.

  • James Prior says:

    I have a very large one, several feet tall. I have a lot of plants, and nearly every other pot has received the blessing of seeds from the exploding Madagascar Jewel. Seedlings everywhere. It can go off with quite a loud pop, which is a trifle alarming while I’m sitting quietly as befits someone of my senior vintage. There are several people I’d like to poison, so kindly send recipes that are foolproof.

  • Annette says:

    You might want to read this research on the plant. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10365450

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