Mesembryanthemum (Phyllobolus) resurgens 2

The fact that this species is a deciduous geophyte is reflected in the name, as one of the meanings of the word resurgens is: “Rising again, as from the dead”.
The plants are only up to 3 cm tall, with a thick caudex covered in cork, short stems and
leaves with large bladder cells.
In June-September they produce greenish yellow to pale salmon,  distinctly scented flowers about 4 cm in diameter.
If you want to see the plants in nature, you have to go to the Northern or Western Cape Province, where they are widespread in the winter rainfall area from Namaqualand to Ceres and Laingsburg.

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Mesembryanthemum (Phyllobolus) resurgens 1

I first saw plants of this species in autumn (May 2006) and had no idea what they were. Some peculiar Mesem maybe?  The first picture gives you an idea of what they looked like.


It took me about half a year to return to the spot (a few km northwest of Matjiesfontein) to try and make some good pictures, but when I came there, the plants had disappeared. There were no signs of digging by man or beast and I was sure it was the right spot. So what had happened? After a while it started to dawn upon me that the only thing that was wrong was the time. Because summer was approaching, the plants had done their annual disappearing act and I would have to wait till autumn to see them again.
In March of the following year I found out that the species was rather common in the area and also that they sometimes were much more visible (see pictures below).





To be continued.


Adromischus leucophyllus

With their leaves covered with a thick white bloom, these plants are both distinctive and beautiful. Sometimes the leaves have some darker spots.
The flowers are white or pale pink and appear in Jan.-Feb. (The flowering plants were photographed 9 February at Kanonkop in Montagu).
One can find the plants on sandstone slopes in the mountains between Robertson and Montagu and eastward to the Gamka Poort Dam.

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adroleuc 2010-06-23#007

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Cotyledon barbeyi

There are not many plant species that occur from South Africa to the Arabian peninsula, but this is one of them. The photos in this post were taken in the mountainous Shikh area in Somaliland (see first picture). In years gone by I also saw quite a few of these plants in Yemen, but strangely enough I never came across them in South Africa.
The shrubs may be up to 2 m tall.  The colour of the calyx is described as green and that of the corolla as dark orange to red, rather different from what we see here. However, as Van Jaarsveld and Koutnik  remark in their “Cotyledon and Tylecodon”, the corolla inflation between the calyx lobes is diagnostic, so that should remove any possible doubts about the identification.

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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.