When I was a child, my family took laborious trips and, as an adult, I found myself not wanting to travel. Alas, the travels not only increased, but are frequent.
This plant represents how similar the landscape is from country to country. I’ve been throughout the Caribbean where on multiple islands I was told this branch of the mother’s tongue was so unique, it only grew on their isolated territory. I’ve been to islands in the Gulf of Mexico where the locals boasted of it being the only environment where the rare plant was capable of growing. In Belize, I stumbled across it growing on interior rivers. I’ve even seen it on the side of the road in my neighborhood, which does’t fit any of the above landscapes.
Coming across a Medusa’s Head is always a thrill. It tends to wrap around a tree unnoticed until its blooms stretch out from the spiked arms. Nurseries will advise you to water it often, fertilize frequently and plant it in the shade. From what I can tell, this hardy plant thrives in full sunlight.
This intriguing babe shows up everywhere. It prefers palm trees over woody barks. Its unique characteristics include perseverance and giving a big surprise for those days you aren’t expecting dashing blooms set in a furry greenery.
Possibly, the reason each locale claims it only exists in their region is due to it being oftentimes confused with other varieties of similar plants. I’ve seen where Medusa’s Head was labeled as a rat’s tail, and a monkey’s tail. I’ve seen it thrown into a mix of cactus orchards and snake plants.
The official term is Euphorbia caput-medusae, and it was first sighted in South Africa. Medusa’s Head can be recognized by the twisty snake-like stems that curl skyward. Brushy bristles and tiny leaves give it a hairy appearance with the sunlight hits it just so. It appears in sunny spots on trees in Tropical climates.
If you have an issue with breathing or digestion, Euphorbia is said to be the cure. It treats a few illnesses such as dengue fever and dysentery. Yet, it also is said to irritate the stomach and be dangerous during pregnancy.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Nature is calling out to us all the time, sending us encouraging messages of unyielding beauty in the most inhospitable environments. Medusa’s Head is the unrecognized beauty. It goes unnoticed, a reminder that when you feel uneventful, it only takes that one person who is paying attention to appreciate your thorny sides. Being unique adds depth to the value of having endurance, through the rainy seasons as well as the droughts.
Likewise, as much as you might at times feel you are different from all others, know that your characteristics thrive all over the globe. Those thorns in your side might very well be protecting your blossoming contribution to an otherwise typical landscape.