Care Level: Moderate
The Branching Flowerpot Coral Alveopora sp. is a 'one-of-a-kind' genus in both looks and structure. In the wild their skeletal formations are massive, round or branching, yet are lightweight and porous. They have large corallites creating an interlocking network of rods and spines. However their most distinctive features are their large elongated polyps, which can extend up to 12 inches (30 cm) or more.
The polyps of the Branching Flowerpot Coral can extend outward in a spray. They are topped with a fringe of tentacles surrounding a mouth area (oral discs) that often have knob-like swollen tips. The oral discs or tentacle tips can be white or green. The tentacles can have a contrasting color of the oral discs giving it that "daisy" appearance. They look much like a bunch of flowers. Hence the common names like Daisy Coral, Flowerpot Coral, Sunflower Coral, and Ball Coral.
All the different Alveopora species have 12 polyps, but they are usually of different shapes and colors. The Branching Flowerpot Corals extend their polyps both during the day and partially at night. They will quickly retract them however, if disturbed. Their nervous system is very sensitive. If you touch one side of these corals, it sends impulses to the rest of the coral. It will quickly retract polyps across the coral in a wave reaction.