Dioscorea hemicrypta

Like its better known sibling D. elephantipes, this species is often difficult to find in the wild. This is not because the plants are small, but because they are usually hidden in rather dense vegetation. In the case of D. hemicrypta it is usually the bluish-green colour of the leaves that gives the plant away.
Hemicrypta refers to the half-underground caudex, which is taller than wide. The plants are found on dry stony slopes from the Richtersveld to the Little Karoo.

Pictures taken along the road from Calitzdorp to Matjiesvlei.
Nrs 3 and 4 show the same plant, growing on the roadside and therefore easily visible.

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Ruschia lineolata

Yesterday for the first time I took a serious walk in the Montagu Nature Garden. One of the interesting plants I came across is shown here. The first question when one comes across a plant looking like this is always: is it a Ruschia or is it an Antimima? Last years’ fruit pointed in the direction of Ruschia, so that is where I started. For me and -I suppose- most other people, reading dozens of plant descriptions is not a favourite pastime. After going through the specialized literature without any luck, I decided to turn to one of the most excellent fieldguides I know :”Plants of the Little Karoo” by Jan Vlok and his wife Anne Lise. As soon as I saw their picture of Ruschia lineolata I got the feeling that this was it. But of course one still has to check and double check and fortunately all the written information I found fitted in.
“Lineolata” means bearing fine lines, referring to the beautifully striped petals.
The plants form mats up to 1 m across and because of their abundant flowering this looks like a great garden subject in an appropriate climate.

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Gibbaeum petrense

A characteristic species with its compact clumps of hard-textured leaves with sharp edges. Although the plants are locally abundant, they occur only in a narrow band north of the Langeberge.
The first picture was taken on 13 April 2007, the others on 13 Sept. 2011.

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Euphorbia celata

Most of the biomass in these plants is underground. Graham Williamson in his beautiful book “Richtersveld; the enchanted wilderness” has the following to say: “E. celata is a curious Namaqualand endemic which makes up for its lacklustre appearance by its botanical uniqueness. It grows almost secretly in hidden cracks in orange sandstone and is very difficult to detect.”
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