Leaf of the Day: The Devil’s Backbone

What a marvellous leaf to start my March drawings with. This strange and leggy plant grows by a sidewalk tree on Carolina Road here in Winter Park. The structure of its zig-zag stem is astonishing. Pedilanthus tithymaloides has other common names; Slipper flower after its Latin name, Rick Rack plant and Red Bird Cactus because the flower resemble tiny red cardinals. I think this one has been suffering somewhat from the cold weather as many of the branches were leafless but there were one or two little scarlet flowers appearing here and there. This is another member of the euphorbia family. While trying to identify this I found it comes in different variegated colours and with different degrees of zigzag. This one has a pale green stem,the green leaves have red edges and some red patterning.
Some of the leaves themselves have have a wavy spine running under the leaf, almost like another backbone or a dragons crest.

I am hoping to achieve 5 images a week in March. Some will now be more complex and some in colour but I am reluctant to leave the pencil drawings which I am enjoying so much. There are few things that make me happier than sitting down with BBC Radio 4 some sharp green pencils and something new and beautiful to draw.

Devil’s Backbone