Mesembryanthemum digitatum ssp. digitatum (part 1 of 2)

In my preceding post (https://enjoysucculents.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/conophytum-khamiesbergense/)  I asked the readers’ opinion on the slide scans used there.
A big thank you to all who were kind enough to respond to that request (and I’m quite chuffed because all responses were positive). Being able to mix pictures that were taken digitally with ones that were scanned, gives me a lot more options for posts.

Today’s subject with its bizarre finger-and-thumb-like leaves is certainly one of the more peculiar succulents. One cannot help but feeling that some of this otherness is reflected in its taxonomic history:
The taxon* was described in 1789 as a Mesembryanthemum, in 1925  it was placed in a genus of its own (Dactylopsis) and in 1995 it was incorporated in Phyllobolus (only to be returned to Dactylopsis in 2006). In 2013 it was reinstated -together with many other species- as a member of Mesembryanthemum.

* Taxon is a term to refer to a taxonomic group or unit of any rank (a family, a variety or whatever -depending on the context).

The plants form clumps 10-20 cm tall and are heteromorphous  (of variable shape): the first leaf of a growing period is long and the second short, giving the appearance of a “finger and thumb”.
They flower at the beginning of the resting period (November-December); the flowers stay open day and night for 3 weeks or even longer.
To see the plants in the wild, you have to go to the Vredendal/Vanrhynsdorp area of the Knersvlakte in Namaqualand, where they occur on shale covered with quartz pebbles.

dactdigi 2009-07-2#060

dactdigi 2010-09-09#158

dactdigiscan4-(2samples)

 

Mesembryanthemum digitatum ssp. digitatum (part 1 of 2)

In my preceding post (https://enjoysucculents.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/conophytum-khamiesbergense/)  I asked the readers’ opinion on the slide scans used there.
A big thank you to all who were kind enough to respond to that request (and I’m quite chuffed because all responses were positive). Being able to mix pictures that were taken digitally with ones that were scanned, gives me a lot more options for posts.

Today’s subject with its bizarre finger-and-thumb-like leaves is certainly one of the more peculiar succulents. One cannot help but feeling that some of this otherness is reflected in its taxonomic history:
The taxon* was described in 1789 as a Mesembryanthemum, in 1925  it was placed in a genus of its own (Dactylopsis) and in 1995 it was incorporated in Phyllobolus (only to be returned to Dactylopsis in 2006). In 2013 it was reinstated -together with many other species- as a member of Mesembryanthemum.

* Taxon is a term to refer to a taxonomic group or unit of any rank (a family, a variety or whatever -depending on the context).

The plants form clumps 10-20 cm tall and are heteromorphous  (of variable shape): the first leaf of a growing period is long and the second short, giving the appearance of a “finger and thumb”.
They flower at the beginning of the resting period (November-December); the flowers stay open day and night for 3 weeks or even longer.
To see the plants in the wild, you have to go to the Vredendal/Vanrhynsdorp area of the Knersvlakte in Namaqualand, where they occur on shale covered with quartz pebbles.

dactdigi 2009-07-2#060

dactdigi 2010-09-09#158

dactdigiscan4-(2samples)

 

Mesembryanthemum (Phyllobolus) canaliculatum

These plants are geophytes with tuberous roots; they occur from the Cape Peninsula eastward to Port Elizabeth, growing in coastal dunes.
As a special adaptations to their sandy habitat, they have long creeping branches rooting at the nodes.
The Aizoaceae family does not have not many members that are either geophytic or adapted to a habitat of shifting sands, but this species somehow manages to belong to both categories.
One can find the plants in flower from spring to mid-summer. The flowers are 2-3 cm in diameter and yellow, mauve or salmon in colour, sometimes with a red hue.
The leaves are almost cylindrical or channeled (=canaliculatus).

Photographed near Jeffrey’s Bay 25 Oct. 2012.

phylcana 8060#2012-10-25

phylcana 8062#2012-10-25

phylcana 8072#2012-10-25

phylcana 8075#2012-10-25