Malephora purpureo-crocea

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.


Cephalophyllum spissum

Forming compact cushions to 10 cm tall with leaves 4.5 to 6 cm long.
The flowers are pink to purple with a lighter centre and appear in July – August.
The plants are often confused with C. caespitosum but have fruits with 11-15 instead of 9-10 compartments.
They occur in the southern Knersvlakte in loamy soil among white quartz pebbles; often together with Argyroderma delaetii.


Conophytum minusculum ssp. minusculum

This year, I was fortunate enough to make two trips to Namaqualand.  One of the delights of these trips was seeing C. minusculum ssp. minusculum in flower (pictures made 13th May), and in full growth (pictures dated 27th July). All pictures were made on the Gifberg.

The plants are quite variable and form low mats or domes of slightly keeled bodies with a shining green or purplish top, usually with conspicuous lines. The flowers appear mainly in March-June and are huge in comparison to the small bodies, magenta or rose, rarely white.
Found from the Cederberg north and west growing on Table Mountain sandstone, usually with moss and often in damp depressions.
The plants prefer acid soil in cultivation.


With Crassula tomentosa var. interrupta

Oscularia comptonii

Of the 22 recognised species of Oscularia only two are reported to have white flowers. The “default“  colour is (light to dark) pink.
O. comptonii forms an erect shrublet to 25 cm tall, with more or less crescent-shaped, keeled leaves to 40 mm long.
The flowers are white to pale pink and up to 27 mm in diameter; they appear from August to October.
The plants occur on sandstone outcrops in and around the Olifants River Valley.

Pictures taken 23 Aug. 2016, just south of Clanwilliam.

Dracophilus dealbatus (syn. D. montis-draconis, D. proximus)

Plants of this species form small compact cushions to 5 cm tall and 16 cm in diameter, with leaves 2.5-4.5 cm long.
The honey-scented flowers open in late afternoon and stay open for most of the night. They are magenta or white, up to 3.5 cm in diameter and appear mainly in July-August.
The plants grow in gravelly plains and rock crevices from southern Namibia to northern Namaqualand. Rainfall in this area is on average less than 100 mm per year and occurs mainly in winter.

Mesembs of the world (1998) supplies the following snippet of information: “Dracophilus plants are not very popular but are nevertheless often seen in collections”.  In other words, many people do not really like them but still grow them. To me this seems to indicate that a lot of succulent growers are masochists, but maybe I’m just missing something here. I do however fully agree with another remark in the book : ”When well-grown, they can be very beautiful”.


Conophytum calculus ssp. calculus

The Latin word calculus means pebble and in this case probably refers to both the roundness and the firmness of the plant bodies.
These bodies are to 30 mm diameter, ball- to barrel-shaped, very firm, whitish-green to pale yellowish-green, without any markings; they form a hemisphere with age.
The flowers are open at night (sometimes staying open during cool mornings) and are said to smell strongly like cloves or carnations; they are golden yellow to deep reddish orange and appear in April-June.
The plants occur in full sun on salty quartz flats and gentle slopes in the Knersvlakte.

First picture taken 10th Sept. 2010; others 12th May 2017

Argyroderma delaetii (part 1 of 2)

No less than 25 synoniems have been recorded for this species, so it will come as no surprise that it is quite variable.
As a rule, the plants consist of only one pair of leaves, rarely 2 or 3. These leaf-pairs are 20-50 mm long and 15-30 mm wide, 
sunken into the ground. Old leaves stay on the plants for 1 or 2 years.
The flowers appear in April – June; they are 20-50 mm in diameter and may be white, pink, red , magenta, or yellow (see part 2). Even within one population one can come across all these colours.
The plants are locally abundant on flats or slopes rich in quartz pebbles in the Vanrhynsdorp area.

The first 3 pictures were taken on 30 March 2012, # 4  early next morning. Last one: 3 Sept. 2010