Once you know that monile is the Latin word for a string of pearls and monilaria means a collection of strings of pearl, this repetitive tongue twister of a name may begin to make more sense.
But let’s forget about the name and look at the plants themselves.
The branches consist of flattish, rounded segments and may become up to 20 cm tall.
The flowers are to 4.5 cm in diameter, usually white (sometimes with a yellow tinge), with white, orange or purple filaments*.
They have a long stalk (to 10 cm tall), appear in July-August and are highly scented.
As a rule the plants grow fully exposed in loamy soil on quartz patches in the southernmost part of the Knersvlakte.
According to “MESEMBS OF THE WORLD”, Monilaria plants are very long-lived, possibly centuries.
* the thread-like part of the stamen
All pictures shown here were taken late July 2017.
Plants of this species are found from the Richtersveld to the Vanrhynsdorp area; they grow in crevices and small pans on rocky outcrops or steps of granite, sandstone or quartz. These specialised habitats retain more moisture than their surroundings: rather important in an area with usually less than 100 mm rain per year.
They form low shrublets with a central head and trailing branches which do not root at the nodes.
The leaves are three-sided, often laterally compressed, brown to dark green.
In June-July the flowers appear with 3-5 together (rarely solitary); they are up to 3.5 cm in diameter with white, purple or bicoloured petals and filamentous staminodes gathered in a central cone.
The fruits have 7-12 (usually 10) compartments, with the top higher than the basal part.
This is the last of the Antimima trio I mentioned before (see A. evoluta and A. turneriana).
The plants are unlike any other succulent (although when I saw them first, they strangely enough reminded me of Mammillaria saboae) and form attractive compact shrublets to 12 cm tall, looking like a miniature tree.
The mauve to magenta flowers are 1.5 cm in diameter and appear in June-July.
To be found on limestone outcrops with marble on the southern Knersvlakte.
This is the second member of the Antimima trio that I mentioned in the preceding post (Antimima evoluta).
These plants forms compact clumps up to 5 cm tall.
The leaves are up to 1.5 cm long and 0.8 cm wide and thick, keeled and with tough and hard margins; usually with convex sides.
Usually the flowers come in threes but sometimes they are solitary. They are pinkish-purple and 1.8 cm in diameter; they appear in June-July ( photographed 23 July 2017).
Occurring in crevices of white quartz, marble or limestone on the southern Knersvlakte.
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.
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.
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.