Kalanchoe marmorata

This beautiful species occurs widespread from  DR Congo and Tanzania to Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia on rocky slopes in wooded areas and cultivated lands at altitudes between 1200 and 2400 m.

It is also often cultivated as an ornamental as well as medicinal plant.

It has upright stems (often creeping at the base)  0.5-1.3 m. or more tall, with leaves up to 25 cm long and about 13 cm wide which are often marbled with brown to purple markings on both sides.
The inflorescences are 30 cm or more tall and the flowers are white (rarely cream), sometimes flushed with pale pink. The flower have long tubes, usually between 4.5 and 12 cm long.

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Kalanchoe linearifolia

Because this species is often more or less climbing in surrounding shrubs, it is difficult to spot when not in flower. The name refers to the very narrow leaves, which are up to 13 cm long, but not more than 1 cm wide.
The plants become up to 1.5 m tall and produce brilliant red flowers with a tube just over 1 cm long.

One can find the plants in a wide strip roughly following the coast of southern Madagascar from Fort Dauphin to Tulear, where they mainly grow in xerophytic bush on limestone rocks.

The photos were taken at Madagascar’s southernmost tip (Cap Ste Marie) on 2 Nov. 2016.

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Tylecodon paniculatus (part 1 of 3)

With a height of up to 2.5 m, this is the biggest of the Tylecodons. It is also the most widespread, from the Auas Mts. in central Namibia  to Worcester and Steytlerville in the south and southeast. The species seems to prefer stony slopes, but in South Africa it is also found on sand along the western and southern coastline.

The plants have fat yellowish stems (up to 0.6 m in diameter and usually undivided), with peeling bark.
The branches are over 2 cm thick and bear leaves 5-12 cm long and 2-10 cm wide which are usually finely hairy in young plants and hairless in older ones.
The flowers appear in October -January, by which time the plants have shed their leaves. The corolla tubes are 1.2-1.6 cm long, yellowish to red, whereas the lobes are orange and 1-1.3 cm long. The flowers are pollinated mainly by sunbirds.
Because the plants tends to grow in groups, they often make wonderful displays when flowering.

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Crassula rupestris ssp. rupestris (part 1 of 2)

Rupestris means growing on rocks,  a very apt name  for a species which is often common on dry stony slopes.
The plants occur widespread from near Vanrhynsdorp to the Cape Peninsula and the Eastern Cape. They form shrublets to 60 cm tall, usually with many, somewhat brittle stems.
The branches are erect or spreading, sometimes creeping, with egg- to lance- shaped leaves often with a waxy bloom. There is a great variability in the colour, size and shape of the leaves and also in the degree to which they are fused at the base.
The flowers appear over quite a long period: June-October.

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Cotyledon papillaris

Although this is a very variable species with several synoniems, it is nevertheless easy  to identify.
The plants are low, spreading shrublets with branches to 25 cm long, often rooting at nodes and bearing leaves 15-60 mm long and 4-13 mm wide, yellowish-green to glaucous*, usually with a red tip or margin.
The flowers vary in colour from yellowish and orange to darkish pink and deep red, with a tube 5-8 mm long and lobes 10-15 mm long. They appear mainly in October-February, but also after rain  at other times.

Usually the plants occur on stony slopes and flats; they are often abundant in the shade of small bushes. They are widespread from southwestern Namibia to the Little Karoo and extending into the Eastern Cape.

*glaucous: covered with a thin greyish-white to bluish-green layer of wax.

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Kalanchoe integrifolia

When at the end of my recent trip to Madagascar we had some time left, we decided to go to Antsirabe to visit Mt. Ibity. I had been there 19 years ago to see the famous Pachypodium brevicaule in its habitat and this seemed a good opportunity to renew the acquaintance.
As the area is protected nowadays, it took us a while to find a guide and get the necessary permissions, but in the end we were able to start the ascend.
Just before we arrived at the level were we could expect the Pachypodiums, I noticed a little succulent in a rock crevice. My first thought was: “An Adromischus?”. Well, probably not, as that genus is not known to occur in Madagascar. A bit further up we came across a mature specimen and one look at the flowers confirmed that it was a Kalanchoe. But which one? Fortunately there is a book on the Kalanchoes of Madagascar and that quickly answered the question. (When I looked through  slides of my first visit to the country, I found one of the same species photographed further south at a place 15 km West of Ivato; see first picture)

Kalanchoe integrifolia is a  polymorphous species which is slow growing  and may become very old. It may reach a height of up to 1 m.
The leaves show a great variation in appearance depending on the age of the plants. They are 3-11 cm long and 0.8-2.5 cm wide, egg-shaped in young plants and becoming  almost cylindrical as the plants get older.
The flowers may be white, yellowish, pink or dull reddish and are slightly pubescent.
The species occurs in the Antsirabe-Ambositra area on quartz, gneiss and basalt rocks at an altitude of 1200- 2000m. It is rare and probably endangered by environmental
changes.

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Crassula nemorosa (part 1 of 2)

These charming little plants have erect or sprawling stems , 4-10 (-15) cm long.
They are geophytes, with many small tubers (rarely over 0.5 cm in diameter).
The slightly fleshy leaves are grey-green or greyish brown and the star- to cup-shaped flowers are pale yellowish-green to brown with 2-3.5 mm long lobes.
While the flowers usually appear between June and August, depending on rainfall this may also happen at other times.
The distribution area ranges from South Namibia to the Little Karoo and the Eastern Cape, but the plants only occur in sheltered spots on rocky slopes and in crevices.

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