Crassula barklyi (“Bandaged finger”)

Plants of this species are sparingly to densely branched (usually from the base) and form clusters up to 9 cm in diameter.
The columnar plant bodies are usually erect (rarely more or less flat on the ground);  20-90 mm long and 6-15 mm thick.
Flowering occurs from May to October;  the flask-shaped flowers have cream, 9-11 mm long petals.
The species is found in the western part of Namaqualand from near Port Nolloth to the Vanrhynsdorp area, on exposed quartz gravel flats and gentle slopes, rarely on rocky outcrops and in shallow pans on rocks.


Conophytum calculus ssp. calculus

The Latin word calculus means pebble and in this case probably refers to both the roundness and the firmness of the plant bodies.
These bodies are to 30 mm diameter, ball- to barrel-shaped, very firm, whitish-green to pale yellowish-green, without any markings; they form a hemisphere with age.
The flowers are open at night (sometimes staying open during cool mornings) and are said to smell strongly like cloves or carnations; they are golden yellow to deep reddish orange and appear in April-June.
The plants occur in full sun on salty quartz flats and gentle slopes in the Knersvlakte.

First picture taken 10th Sept. 2010; others 12th May 2017

Crassula brevifolia ssp. brevifolia

This very variable taxon occurs from southern Namibia to the Cederberg in South Africa, but mainly in the mountainous area of Namaqualand near Vanrhynsdorp, in rock crevices or between boulders, often in very exposed positions.

The plants form much-branched shrublets up to 0,5 m tall. The leaves are green, sometimes turning yellowish green or purplish red; they are almost triangular in section, usually 20-35 mm long (sometimes as short as 10 mm or as long as 50 mm) and 2-4 (sometimes 6) mm wide, about as thick as they are wide.
In autumn/early winter (March-June) the flowers appear, which as a rule are yellow-green, rarely white with a pink tinge.



Crassula alpestris ssp. massonii

Four of the six species belonging to the section Columnares of Crassula are more or less well known (barklyi, congesta, pyramidalis and -of course- columnaris).
One other (C. multiceps) I have never even seen and the subject of this post is not widely known either.

It is a small, more or less erect plant, 8-25 cm tall when in flower, sometimes with several short branches at the base. The green to brown leaves are normally all about the same length (usually  5-8 mm but sometimes to 1.5 cm). They often covered with sand particles.
In September-November, the main stem bears many small rounded inflorescences on the upper part of the flower stalk.

The plants occur from Vanrhynsdorp to Calvinia, Worcester and Montagu on sandy or gravelly slopes (often facing south).

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Kalanchoe marmorata

This beautiful species occurs widespread from  DR Congo and Tanzania to Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia on rocky slopes in wooded areas and cultivated lands at altitudes between 1200 and 2400 m.

It is also often cultivated as an ornamental as well as medicinal plant.

It has upright stems (often creeping at the base)  0.5-1.3 m. or more tall, with leaves up to 25 cm long and about 13 cm wide which are often marbled with brown to purple markings on both sides.
The inflorescences are 30 cm or more tall and the flowers are white (rarely cream), sometimes flushed with pale pink. The flower have long tubes, usually between 4.5 and 12 cm long.

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Kalanchoe linearifolia

Because this species is often more or less climbing in surrounding shrubs, it is difficult to spot when not in flower. The name refers to the very narrow leaves, which are up to 13 cm long, but not more than 1 cm wide.
The plants become up to 1.5 m tall and produce brilliant red flowers with a tube just over 1 cm long.

One can find the plants in a wide strip roughly following the coast of southern Madagascar from Fort Dauphin to Tulear, where they mainly grow in xerophytic bush on limestone rocks.

The photos were taken at Madagascar’s southernmost tip (Cap Ste Marie) on 2 Nov. 2016.

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Tylecodon paniculatus (part 1 of 3)

With a height of up to 2.5 m, this is the biggest of the Tylecodons. It is also the most widespread, from the Auas Mts. in central Namibia  to Worcester and Steytlerville in the south and southeast. The species seems to prefer stony slopes, but in South Africa it is also found on sand along the western and southern coastline.

The plants have fat yellowish stems (up to 0.6 m in diameter and usually undivided), with peeling bark.
The branches are over 2 cm thick and bear leaves 5-12 cm long and 2-10 cm wide which are usually finely hairy in young plants and hairless in older ones.
The flowers appear in October -January, by which time the plants have shed their leaves. The corolla tubes are 1.2-1.6 cm long, yellowish to red, whereas the lobes are orange and 1-1.3 cm long. The flowers are pollinated mainly by sunbirds.
Because the plants tends to grow in groups, they often make wonderful displays when flowering.

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On left T. wallichii

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