Monilaria moniliformis (part 1 of 2)

Once you know that monile is the Latin word for a string of pearls and monilaria means a collection of strings of pearl, this repetitive tongue twister of a name may begin to make more sense.
But let’s forget about the name and look at the plants themselves.

The branches consist of flattish, rounded segments and may become up to 20 cm tall.
The flowers are to 4.5 cm in diameter, usually white (sometimes with a yellow tinge), with white, orange or purple filaments*.
They have a long stalk (to 10 cm tall), appear in July-August and are highly scented.
As a rule the plants grow fully exposed in loamy soil on quartz patches in the southernmost part of the Knersvlakte.
According to “MESEMBS OF THE WORLD”,  Monilaria plants are very long-lived, possibly centuries.

* the thread-like part of the stamen

All pictures shown here were taken late July 2017.

 

Antimima fenestrata (part 1 of 2)

This is the last of the Antimima trio I mentioned before (see A. evoluta and A. turneriana).
The plants are unlike any other succulent (although when I saw them first, they strangely enough reminded me of Mammillaria saboae) and form attractive compact shrublets to 12 cm tall, looking like a miniature tree.
The mauve to magenta flowers are 1.5 cm in diameter and appear in June-July.

To be found on limestone outcrops with marble on the southern Knersvlakte.


Antimima turneriana

This is the second member of the Antimima trio that I mentioned in the preceding post (Antimima evoluta).
These plants forms compact clumps up to 5 cm tall.
The leaves are up to 1.5 cm long and 0.8 cm wide and thick, keeled and with tough and hard margins; usually with convex sides.
Usually the flowers come in threes but sometimes they are solitary. They are pinkish-purple and 1.8 cm in diameter; they appear in June-July ( photographed 23 July 2017).

Occurring in crevices of white quartz, marble or limestone on the southern Knersvlakte.

Antimima evoluta

During my second trip this year to Namaqualand, I came across a trio of interesting and beautiful Antimimas which I had never seen in the wild before. Two of the 3  (A. fenestrata and A. turneriana) were in flower, but the one pictured here flowers in October and had only just woken up by the looks of it. All the plants were growing on low limestone hills in a spot maybe 100×100 m.

Antimima evoluta forms rounded clumps up to 5 cm tall, consisting of bodies about 4 mm long and wide.
At the end of the growing period, the pairs of old leaves dry up and form a white sheath protecting the new pairs during the hot and dry resting period.
In October the plants are decorated with magenta flowers up to 1.7 mm in diameter.

The species occurs on the Knersvlakte, extending eastwards to Loeriesfontein, and grows in crevices on slopes of white quartz or limestone mixed with marble.

Pictures taken 26th July 2017


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 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