Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kalanchoe bracteata

Another interesting species of Kalanchoe from Madagascar yet again. This is a species that closely resembles K. orygalis. K. orygalis has leaves covered by a layer of deep bronze hair or scales whereas K. bracteata has silvery white hair or scales instead. This is typical K. bracteata and it also has a naked cousin totally emerald green with out hairs or scales. This species is very drought, heat resistant and easy to propagate from leaves. It is a beautiful succulent, and will need to be re-started leaves or re-planted from cuttings otherwise it grows leggy when the older leaves shred.  Another species that's very similar but more sparsely hairly is K. hildebrantii.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stapelianthus keraudreniae

Another species of Stapelianthus from Betioky district in south western Madagascar. This species is different from other Stapelianthus due to the raise annulus resembling some species of Huernia like H. zebrina. Also, the annulus appears to be viscid or sticky in the absence of dew.  During watering, I took care to avoid wetting the flowers. However, it is only strong enough to trap dirt as i did not see any dead ants or other insect stuck on it.  The flowers of Stapelianthus are quite diverse, tubular in S. decaryii , raise annulus in S. keraudreniae, recurved in S. insignis and open standard in S. hardyi, S. madagascariensis etc; more so than other genera of Stapeliaceae (Huernia, Stapelia).  I hope to find others like S. calcarophilus, S. madagascarensis.  Being a sub-tropical stapeliad, it adapts well under tropical conditions.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Stapelianthus pilosus

This is an immediately distinctive plant amongst the stapeliads - stem densely covered with white hairs. For those more familiar with huernia, it is like Huernia pillansii with denser and softer hairs. Originated from Madagascar, it has been in cultivation for a fair period of time. But it is not as commonly available as other S. African huernias.  It requires more warmth and a bit higher humidity.  It has a creeping habit due to its long soft stems.  Also because of longer stems and less offsetting habit, it is harder to take cuttings for propagation. Hopefully, i can keep and propagate it well under tropical conditions.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Orthophytum gurkenii

Normally, i'm not a big fan of bromeliads with a soft spot for compact rosettes or silvery scales. Just not able to resist purchasing this plant for 23US$. I've been eyeing it for a while. The plant looked a bit tired then but recovered.  This species is native to Brazil from mesic habitat, so i'm giving it a bright corner and light watering. While it is not commonly offered here in the old world, it is not an uncommon houseplant offered in the states. The leaves are covered with a mosaic network of white trichomes.  Need to take extra care during handling to avoid touching the leaves and cause irrecoverable blemish.  And also  to keep a keen eye for scales or mealies!