Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kalanchoe grandidieri

This is one of the arborescent kalanchoe from the scrub desert of south western Madagascar.  So far, it has been occasionally offered for sale by specialist C&S nurseries in Europe and US. It would quickly sold out and disappear from the catalogue the following year. I find this plant very slow growing and difficult to propagate. The leaf refuses to detached cleanly from the stem, even with great care. It is not easy to root the damage leaf.  These are i guess the reasons why it remains rare in cultivation.  With leaves up to 5" long, it resembles non-branching a scale-up version of the commonly sold jade plant Crassula ovata. It is amenable to tropical lowland climate and i had kept it for more than 5 years.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Plectranthus sp

Plectranthus is one genus that is not well presented in C&S collection. The best known species is P. ernestii a caudiciform from coast Natal province of South Africa. Other species in this genus can hardly be termed succulent in the classical sense, but many species are certainly well adapted to take xeric conditions. 

This species 10249 collected by Lavranos & Horwood from Galgallo, Somalia fits the bill of great adaptability between two extremes of dry and wet. My plant above is "tortured" by underwatering because i enjoy its soft and flaccid look.  A cutting given to a friend who has it grown under a sprinkler once a day becomes a monster overnight. It has outgrown its parental clone by 4 times in both width and height, carring its leaves erect and extended. In short, it has transformed into garden coleus!     

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Echidnopsis bihendulensis

This is a very robust and easy stapeliad for the equatorial conditions.  It does not melt with days with night temperatures above 30°C. Not surprising as it is from Somalia. Purchased it from Ernest Specks as ES14143 2 years back.  It is very free flowering, need little attention and propagates easily too.

Other than American invasion of Somalia, Somali pirates threatening shipping in Red Sea area and other bad press... Somalia is actually a place very rich and diverse in succulents and xeric vegetation.  Ecologically dry for eons, it is an isolated succulent desert sharing common flora with Northern Africa and Canary Islands and across to the Arabian Peninsular. Other well known stapeliads - Pseudolithos, Pseudopectinaria, Whitesloanea, Edithcolea also comes that area. 

Nowadays, i try as much as possible grow succulents from equatorial africa where few succulents are to be found and the lowlands of sub-tropical africa mainly Somalia, Madasgacar. Other parts of 'tropical' africa is not really true, because they are way up above sea level most of East Africa is highland and plains above 1000 m.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Aeonium goochiae

Again like the former plant... that came through post in a bad way, this came with the rosette totally flatten to 1 plane. I was expecting all the leaves to blacken and fall off after planting.  Surprise, surprise.  It survives and it actually growing.  Its restricted range between 100-700m at La Palma, Canary Islands may explain its heat tolerance.  

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Aeonium haworthii

It is probably not the most common Aeonium around. Have been trying to find adaptable crassulaceae species for the tropics. A kind gentlemen has picked a selection of crassulaceae from the lower altitude of Canary Islands. This is one of the surviving crassulaceae from Canary Islands. Actually, the survival rate is better than my expectation. A small padded packet came to me from England in the depth of February winter. It reached me semi-flatten as if a steam roller just went over it.  As i was unpacking, there was also a sticky resinous small which i assumed was the scent of death (rot). These little things still managed to pull through to a permanently above 27°C ever warm environment. In the picture is a plant rooted from a broken off rosette with less that 1 mm of stem.  So far it survived the postal journey, the decapitation, my 1 week holiday to Taiwan and the rising humidity and heat of April. So i'm keeping my fingers crossed..