Antimima evoluta

During my second trip this year to Namaqualand, I came across a trio of interesting and beautiful Antimimas which I had never seen in the wild before. Two of the 3  (A. fenestrata and A. turneriana) were in flower, but the one pictured here flowers in October and had only just woken up by the looks of it. All the plants were growing on low limestone hills in a spot maybe 100×100 m.

Antimima evoluta forms rounded clumps up to 5 cm tall, consisting of bodies about 4 mm long and wide.
At the end of the growing period, the pairs of old leaves dry up and form a white sheath protecting the new pairs during the hot and dry resting period.
In October the plants are decorated with magenta flowers up to 1.7 mm in diameter.

The species occurs on the Knersvlakte, extending eastwards to Loeriesfontein, and grows in crevices on slopes of white quartz or limestone mixed with marble.

Pictures taken 26th July 2017


Malephora purpureo-crocea

Because of its beautiful flowers this species is often seen as a garden plant.

It may be up to 30 cm tall, with branches that are at first upright but later lie down.
The leaves are almost cylindrical, 5-9 cm long and 0.8-1 cm thick.
Its flowers are about 3 cm in diameter, bright purple outside and yellow or purple inside; they appear in July-Sept.
The species is found on loamy soil from the Namaqualand Hardeveld to the Knersvlakte.


Crassula tomentosa, part 2: var. glabrifolia (v. interrupta):

This variety does not become taller than 10-30 cm when in flower and usually has many rosettes.
The leaves are apparently arranged in 2 rows, 0.5-1.5 (-2.5) cm long and (0.5-) 0.8-3 cm wide, densely hairy to smooth and with longer hairs at the margins. Even when flowering, the leaves stay close together.

Found from southern Namibia, Bushmanland and Namaqualand to near Laingsburg, usually in rock crevices or under overhanging rocks.

The first two pictures show plants in the resting period, the other two are of plants in active growth.


Crassula tomentosa, part 1: var. tomentosa

When in flower the plants are usually 30-60 cm tall; they consist of one to a few rosettes.
The leaves are tightly packed but become more separated when flowering. They are 2-8 (sometimes 10) cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide, usually densely hairy and with longer hairs  (cilia) at the margin.

The plants are found from southwest Namibia along the western coast of South Africa to the Cape Peninsula and the western Little Karoo to near Laingsburg. They often grow in coastal sands, but also on gravelly slopes and larger rocks.

Cephalophyllum spissum

Forming compact cushions to 10 cm tall with leaves 4.5 to 6 cm long.
The flowers are pink to purple with a lighter centre and appear in July – August.
The plants are often confused with C. caespitosum but have fruits with 11-15 instead of 9-10 compartments.
They occur in the southern Knersvlakte in loamy soil among white quartz pebbles; often together with Argyroderma delaetii.


Conophytum minusculum ssp. minusculum

This year, I was fortunate enough to make two trips to Namaqualand.  One of the delights of these trips was seeing C. minusculum ssp. minusculum in flower (pictures made 13th May), and in full growth (pictures dated 27th July). All pictures were made on the Gifberg.

The plants are quite variable and form low mats or domes of slightly keeled bodies with a shining green or purplish top, usually with conspicuous lines. The flowers appear mainly in March-June and are huge in comparison to the small bodies, magenta or rose, rarely white.
Found from the Cederberg north and west growing on Table Mountain sandstone, usually with moss and often in damp depressions.
The plants prefer acid soil in cultivation.


With Crassula tomentosa var. interrupta

Monsonia (Sarcocaulon) multifida

One cannot help but wonder how these little beauties survive the cruel conditions in their homeland, a small area on both sides of the Orange river, some 10-60 km from the sea, where they grow on rocky ridges and in stabilised sandy places amid large sand dunes.
From November to May the plants are dormant and leafless and in this period they are often sand blasted by very strong winds and sometimes buried in sand drifts for weeks or even months.
Winter is the growing period, with most activity going one from June to September.

The plants have a deep, swollen root system and are up to 4 cm tall with one or a few horizontal branches; these are whitish to blackish-brown and 1-2 cm thick. The branches are spineless or have blunt remains of leaf stalks up to 0.6 cm long. Flowering may occur in most months (except Jan.- Febr. and May-June). The flowers are 2.5-3 cm across and white, pale pink or magenta with a dark red throat; rarely they are completely white.