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.
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.
Plants of this species are found from the Richtersveld to the Vanrhynsdorp area; they grow in crevices and small pans on rocky outcrops or steps of granite, sandstone or quartz. These specialised habitats retain more moisture than their surroundings: rather important in an area with usually less than 100 mm rain per year.
They form low shrublets with a central head and trailing branches which do not root at the nodes.
The leaves are three-sided, often laterally compressed, brown to dark green.
In June-July the flowers appear with 3-5 together (rarely solitary); they are up to 3.5 cm in diameter with white, purple or bicoloured petals and filamentous staminodes gathered in a central cone.
The fruits have 7-12 (usually 10) compartments, with the top higher than the basal part.
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.
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.
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
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.