At first glance, one may think this is some type of cactus in the Astrophytum genus, but it is actually a succulent in the Euphorbiaceae family. Its scientific name is Euphorbia obesa, but most folks call it the Gingham Golf Ball, Baseball Plant, or Klipnoors. It is endemic to the South African Karoo region, where it is endangered. In cultivation, it is grown from seeds.
The E. obesa is a dioecious succulent. There are male and female plants, identified by the flower. I’m convinced these are male because of the yellow pollen grains in the center of the “bumps” on the surface of the seams. The female plants have tiny stigma that protrude from the flowers. Once pollinated, the female flowers produce fruit that contain a few seeds each.
This fat little plant will become columnar with age, and can eventually get about eight inches high. Some collectors have specimens that are much taller, but that is not common. E. obesa likes morning light, and light shade in the afternoon because they can easily scorch.
Many collectors buy this plant because of its unusual coloring; a dull gray-green with purple hued horizontal stripes, reminiscent of gingham. It is a summer grower and requires moderate water and soil with good drainage, and in winter, it should be kept dry.