Crassula alpestris ssp. massonii

Four of the six species belonging to the section Columnares of Crassula are more or less well known (barklyi, congesta, pyramidalis and -of course- columnaris).
One other (C. multiceps) I have never even seen and the subject of this post is not widely known either.

It is a small, more or less erect plant, 8-25 cm tall when in flower, sometimes with several short branches at the base. The green to brown leaves are normally all about the same length (usually  5-8 mm but sometimes to 1.5 cm). They often covered with sand particles.
In September-November, the main stem bears many small rounded inflorescences on the upper part of the flower stalk.

The plants occur from Vanrhynsdorp to Calvinia, Worcester and Montagu on sandy or gravelly slopes (often facing south).

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Oophytum oviforme

Old plants of this species form clumps with up to 20 egg-shaped (=oviform) bodies, which are 1-2 cm tall and 1-3 cm in diameter.
Especially when flowering, the very dense stands in which they grow present an unbelievable show. The white to rose-pink flowers appear in August-September.

The plants occur on quartzitic flats and slopes in the southern Knersvlakte, where the rainfall is on average about 125 mm per year (mainly in winter).

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Tylecodon pearsonii

Attractive dwarf shrublets up to 15 cm tall with a caudiciform base up to 3.5 cm in diameter.
Branches are short and fat, with peeling yellow-brown bark; covered with flat white phyllopodia (leaf-bases) when young. The leaves are usually up to 4 cm long and 5-7 mm wide.
The flowers are tubular, erectly spreading to pendulous and relatively large (up to 1.8 cm long). They appear in November and December.

This species is widely distributed from southwest Namibia to the Knersvlakte, on flats and stony slopes, often with quartz rocks or pebbles.
Rainfall in the area is 100-200 mm per year, mainly in winter. The temperatures are high in summer and moderate in winter, sometimes with light frost.

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Mesembryanthemum digitatum ssp. digitatum (part 1 of 2)

In my preceding post (https://enjoysucculents.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/conophytum-khamiesbergense/)  I asked the readers’ opinion on the slide scans used there.
A big thank you to all who were kind enough to respond to that request (and I’m quite chuffed because all responses were positive). Being able to mix pictures that were taken digitally with ones that were scanned, gives me a lot more options for posts.

Today’s subject with its bizarre finger-and-thumb-like leaves is certainly one of the more peculiar succulents. One cannot help but feeling that some of this otherness is reflected in its taxonomic history:
The taxon* was described in 1789 as a Mesembryanthemum, in 1925  it was placed in a genus of its own (Dactylopsis) and in 1995 it was incorporated in Phyllobolus (only to be returned to Dactylopsis in 2006). In 2013 it was reinstated -together with many other species- as a member of Mesembryanthemum.

* Taxon is a term to refer to a taxonomic group or unit of any rank (a family, a variety or whatever -depending on the context).

The plants form clumps 10-20 cm tall and are heteromorphous  (of variable shape): the first leaf of a growing period is long and the second short, giving the appearance of a “finger and thumb”.
They flower at the beginning of the resting period (November-December); the flowers stay open day and night for 3 weeks or even longer.
To see the plants in the wild, you have to go to the Vredendal/Vanrhynsdorp area of the Knersvlakte in Namaqualand, where they occur on shale covered with quartz pebbles.

dactdigi 2009-07-2#060

dactdigi 2010-09-09#158

dactdigiscan4-(2samples)

 

Mesembryanthemum digitatum ssp. digitatum (part 1 of 2)

In my preceding post (https://enjoysucculents.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/conophytum-khamiesbergense/)  I asked the readers’ opinion on the slide scans used there.
A big thank you to all who were kind enough to respond to that request (and I’m quite chuffed because all responses were positive). Being able to mix pictures that were taken digitally with ones that were scanned, gives me a lot more options for posts.

Today’s subject with its bizarre finger-and-thumb-like leaves is certainly one of the more peculiar succulents. One cannot help but feeling that some of this otherness is reflected in its taxonomic history:
The taxon* was described in 1789 as a Mesembryanthemum, in 1925  it was placed in a genus of its own (Dactylopsis) and in 1995 it was incorporated in Phyllobolus (only to be returned to Dactylopsis in 2006). In 2013 it was reinstated -together with many other species- as a member of Mesembryanthemum.

* Taxon is a term to refer to a taxonomic group or unit of any rank (a family, a variety or whatever -depending on the context).

The plants form clumps 10-20 cm tall and are heteromorphous  (of variable shape): the first leaf of a growing period is long and the second short, giving the appearance of a “finger and thumb”.
They flower at the beginning of the resting period (November-December); the flowers stay open day and night for 3 weeks or even longer.
To see the plants in the wild, you have to go to the Vredendal/Vanrhynsdorp area of the Knersvlakte in Namaqualand, where they occur on shale covered with quartz pebbles.

dactdigi 2009-07-2#060

dactdigi 2010-09-09#158

dactdigiscan4-(2samples)