H. mucronata is a very variable species, often even at varietal level. One of the few constant characters is the fact that the leaves are soft , incurved and slightly pellucid, with translucent margins and keel.
Var. mucronata occurs from the Barrydale area to north of Oudtshoorn.
All pictures were taken at the same spot within Barrydale itself: the first five on 8 Aug. 2017 (late winter/early spring), the last two on 28 Jan. 2016 (midsummer).
In this subspecies the stems have 4 or 5 angles; they are 2 to 10 cm long and 1-1.5 cm thick, grey-green, sometimes with faint purple-red spots.
The striking flowers are 2-7.5 cm in diameter and appear in November-April.
Plants are found from Somerset East to near Willowmore, between Uniondale and Joubertina and also between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp, under bushes on stony slopes.
The pictures shown here were all taken in the latter area and represent the former subsp. calitzdorpensis (the plant in the third picture was growing next to the road, hence the specks of dust).
In the wild, this taxon is rare and endangered by both habitat degradation (as a result of overgrazing) and harvesting (for medicinal purposes).
Plants are found in the Little Karoo from Montagu to near Uniondale and in the southern Great Karoo from Matjiesfontein to Gamkapoort and Klaarstroom; they usually grow inside bushes.
The plants have few to many stems (3-6 cm in diameter) and form shrubs up to 80 cm tall and 2 meter across.
Flowers mainly appear in the upper part of the stem and have a nasty smell; they are 1.6-2 cm across and pinkish brown to very dark purplish brown, with a raised annulus.
My good friend George Hattingh of Calitzdorp, with whom I have spent many wonderful hours in the field, has kindly given me permission to make use of his pictures as and when needed, for which I am very grateful.
These compact plants rarely have more than 3 branches, each usually with two leaf-pairs.
The leaves are opposite and have sharp margins; they are thickened below, but without a hump.
Suavis means fragrant, referring to the nicely scented flowers, which are about 3 cm in diameter and appear in April-May.
Occurring on quartz and/or shaly sandstone in the western Little Karoo and the Laingsburg area.
The plants are similar to G. linguiforme, but with thicker leaves.
Plants of this species often occur in great quantities as pioneers in disturbed soil (see first picture). They occur throughout the Little Karoo to the Eastern Cape, form robust shrubs up to 1 m tall and are often heavily browsed.
The reddish-brown branches become rough with age and are characteristic for the species; they bear cylindrical leaves up to 1.1 cm long.
The flowers are pink-purple to dark purple and about 2.2 cm in diameter, appearing in spring and summer (Oct. – Feb.).
Among all the various growth forms in the genus Euphorbia, the design of this species stands out as something singular.
The plants consist of a thick main stem covered with numerous branches up to 8 cm long, decreasing in length towards the top of the plant.
In this way, a compact cone is formed up to 60 cm tall and to 25 cm across at base. In some cases however, the plants are not shaped quite so neatly, resulting in a far less appealing and peculiar habit of growth (see pictures).
The spines are in fact sterile flower stalks; they are 0.8 to 7 cm long and arise from both main stem and branches.
The species occurs on stony slopes and flats from Steinkopf in Namaqualand to the western Little Karoo.
In contrast to Ornithogalum sardienii, this species is widespread on dry rocky places, from Caledon and the Little Karoo to the eastern part of southern Africa. It was first described in 1797, but in the period between 1843 and 1945 it got no less than 16 new names. To make this even stranger, only 6 botanists were responsible for this.
The plants form clusters of above-ground bulbs to 4cm in diameter and tall, with pale to grey-brown, leathery outer tunics.
The leaves are more or less erect, often present when flowering, 10-20 cm long and only 2-3 mm wide, usually strongly ribbed.
The inflorescences are up to 40 cm long, with up to 15 flowers (white with darker keels); they appear from November to March.