To Somaliland and back

Since I returned from Somaliland last week, I have been pondering how to evaluate the trip.
On the one hand it was a once in a life time experience for me and I’m truly grateful to have been able to do this. I saw many plants that were either new to me or I had not seen for many years. Seeing what people in a country like that have to cope with, also helps in appreciating one’s own situation.
On the other hand we ran into a lot of troubles that made the trip less pleasant and useful than expected. Sometimes the permits we had for travelling within the country were not sufficient; at other times the locals were very suspicious of what we were doing and did not want us to be there. In the end we even decided to cut the visit short and return two days earlier to Ethiopia.
Usually one of the main purposes for a trip like this is making as many pictures as is feasible. Unfortunately the camera I use as a rule (Nikon D700), decided to turn a lot of my pictures completely black. So, although the image took up memory space on the card, it showed only black pixels.  Fortunately I brought a spare body (D70) with me, so not al was lost, but calling the problem annoying would be somewhat of an understatement!
In spite of all this, I came home with a number of interesting pictures, some of which will appear on this blog in due course.

To wet your appetite I add some pictures of
Senecio pendulus, Aloe grisea, Dorstenia foetida and Dracaena schizantha resp.





Senecio longiflorus ssp. longiflorus

With its upright succulent stems this plant may easily be mistaken for a Euphorbia. It is widely distributed from Malawi and Zambia to South Africa, usually growing among rocks or under bushes.
In general the plants become 60-90 cm tall, but they may as much as 1.8 m. The stems are round at first, but later become somewhat angular or even furrowed. They are green, sometimes with a purple tinge, and decorated with groups of  three dark green or purple lines. The leaves are rather fleshy but short-lived.
When in seed, the shrubs are a striking sight with their tufts of long white hairs.

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Senecio (Curio) acaulis. Part 1

These plants may be up to 30 cm tall but are usually much lower.
The leaves are up to 10 cm long and cylindrical (in the dry season they become flattened).  Apparently they are tasty to some animals, as one often sees them with the upper half chewed off.
The flowers appear in Oct. Nov. and are large and showy (up to over 2 cm in diameter).
The species occurs on rocky outcrops from the Ceres Karoo to the Kouga Mts.


Senecio (Curio) articulatus

In 1997 Senecio articulatus was placed in the genus Curio, together with a number of other succulent Senecios. As the changes were published in a not very well known journal, they have not been generally accepted (yet?).
Poor old S. articulatus must be in an identity crisis by now, because since it was named first, it has been placed in four different genera (Cacalia, Kleinia, Senecio and now Curio).
Maybe we should just stick to the beautifully descriptive Afrikaans name Worsies (sausages).
The species is widespread from Montagu to Uitenhage, on rocky slopes, usually in (partial) shade.

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Curio radicans

A well known species in cultivation, but also widely distributed in nature (from southern Namibia to the Eastern Cape).
What is not so well known yet is the genus name Curio which apparently we are now supposed to use. So beware, when the taxonomy police comes round next time, you will need a good excuse if you still use the name Senecio (or even Kleinia) radicans.

Whatever you want to call it, I hope you will enjoy the following pictures.





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