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I got this cactus as a gift. Can somebody please identify what it is?
Thank you.

enter image description here

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It is technically not a real cactus (but it is just like a cactus a succulent). This here is Euphorbia lactea 'cristata'. See here for a similar one online. The upper part is actually grafted on top of a root stock of another species.

Since it is a succulent, it doesn't need a lot of water (but don't let it dry out completely either). Advice is to let the (upper) soil dry up between watering, and not to water it too often.

Here more detailed care instructions.

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Just to add a little more detail, what you have are two plants grafted together. The greener bottom is a "normal" plant with the full compliment of chloroplasts. The top plant has two distinct "mutations", the first it is it's crested. Characterized by the wide, disorganized growth and is commonly called "monstrose". The second mutation is variegation, where the chloroplasts are unevenly distributed and sometimes completely absent.

The top plant has very little green which means it is partially unable to perform photosynthesis and create the necessary sugars for growth. The green plant on the bottom is there to provide the sugars to grow the top plant.

Keep in mind that this plant may be frost-tender so you should avoid temperatures below 50 degrees F for long periods.

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  • You're welcome. I just happened to be reading a book called Teratopia which discusses this topic in detail.
    – Tim Nevins
    Oct 4 '18 at 19:15

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