These little gems occur on shale banks and slopes, where they are usually hard to detect. It is a harsh and arid habitat, which at first looks totally uninteresting. When you look carefully, you will however find out that these bare spots often harbour some astonishing miniature succulents like Conophytum joubertii, Gibbaeum nebrownii, G. dispar (see post 30 Jan. this year) and this Tanquana. The scarce rainfall here is often supplemented by early morning dew seeping into the fissures between the shale layers and providing just enough water for these dwarf plants. It is a hard life, especially for young seedlings (see first picture), but the advantage of a habitat like this is that there is no competition from bigger, faster growing -and more demanding- plants.
The pictures were taken near the eastern entrance to the Anysberg Nature Reserve (the first one on 21 April 2012, the other two on 27 Sept. 2010).
More pics to come.
One flower head pretending to be three
Tuberous Othonnas are not very common in cultivation, mainly due I suppose because they are difficult to propagate. Taking cuttings is not really an option and seeds are hard to get and to germinate. It can hardly be caused by lack of appeal, as the following pictures will hopefully show you.
O. auriculifolia is quite widespread in nature, from the Bokkeveld Mountains to Uniondale on stony, clayey or sandy slopes and flats.
The flowerheads are about 2 cm across and appear from April to September. The ray florets are always bright yellow, but the central ones may also be a darker yellow or even a very dark, almost black, purple.
More pictures to follow.
Clumps of this species may become more than a meter in diameter. It is widespread on flats in dry scrub from Worcester to the Free State, but it is never common.
The beautiful and distinctive flowers are 4.5-10 cm across and appear from March to May. Usually they are deep brown to purple black with yellowish mottling, but sometimes the yellow spots are so dense that the colour pattern is almost reversed.
I find it quite difficult to make a good picture of the flowers of this species. They are so dark that they seem to absorb all the available light and turn black in the picture. Under an overcast sky, with enough light but no sun, one can see that the flowers in fact are a beautiful very dark purple. The flowers appear in autumn and winter (March-June).
The species has the widest distribution of the whole genus -from Namibia to the Little Karoo. The plants are few and far in between, growing on stony flats and slopes; they may become up to 60 cm tall.
More pictures to follow