plants

Condé Nast House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

In­side the strange and won­der­ful world of suc­cu­lents

revel in our weird and won­der­ful african plant her­itage with col­lec­tor and pho­tog­ra­pher Filipa domingues

‘More die from too much care and wa­ter­ing than from ne­glect,’ says Filipa of the Euphor­bia ca­put-medusae

1 Cras­sula capitella This plant, na­tive to south­ern africa, is com­monly known as ‘Camp­fire’ for its ex­plo­sion of red and green when it lives in full sun. If po­si­tioned in shade, it re­mains green year-round.

2 Euphor­bia ca­put-medusae

‘Me­dusa’s head from the Cape’ aptly de­scribes this suc­cu­lent with mul­ti­ple ser­pent-like stems aris­ing from a thick, woody stem. They re­quire a lit­tle pam­per­ing to be­come es­tab­lished, but once they are, they’re self-suf­fi­cient.

‘In fact, more die from too much care and wa­ter­ing than from ne­glect,’ says Filipa of th­ese south african na­tives.

3 Cras­sula capitella subsp. thyr­si­flora Filipa snips spent flow­ers to just be­fore the main heads

and young shoots soon take the place of the older ones. It has an ex­treme tol­er­ance to drought.

4 ‘Be­hold the Raphionacme

hir­suta or Khadi­wor­tel,’ says Filipa of this pre­his­toric-look­ing plant. ‘It ini­tially looked like a rock but slowly things started hap­pen­ing and now this un­usual east-african beauty is in full bloom,’ she says. The tu­ber is tra­di­tion­ally har­vested as a source of yeast to brew beer.

5 The fas­ci­nat­ing Ade­nia spinosa is na­tive to Zim­babwe and oc­curs in south­ern africa. a de­cid­u­ous shrub with a tu­ber ca­pa­ble of reach­ing over 1.8 me­tres in width. It en­joys full sun and reg­u­lar wa­ter­ing in sum­mer but no wa­ter in win­ter.

6 Euphor­bia glo­bosa This dwarf suc­cu­lent is en­demic to the eastern Cape. It has a stem known as a cy­athium made up of sev­eral re­duced male flow­ers en­cir­cling the fe­male flower. It houses nu­mer­ous glands, mak­ing it a great source of food for in­sects. Flow­er­ing takes place in spring, and gives rise to a smooth, curved fruit cap­sule. seeds are wind dis­persed as the fruit bursts open.

7 Euphor­bia milii ‘one of my favourite prickly cacti,’ says Filipa. ‘It is cov­ered in pretty flow­ers for most of the year and in spring adds a show of green leaves.’

8 Cras­sula or­bic­u­laris The ‘stone Cras­sula’ oc­curs along the coastal parts of the Western and eastern Cape and into Kwazulu-natal. Plants are found shel­ter­ing in the shade on rocky ledges and flow­ers from late win­ter into sum­mer.

9 Cras­sula per­fo­li­ata var. Mi­nor This is a rare Cras­sula and has a lim­ited dis­tri­bu­tion in the groot Win­ter­hoek Moun­tains, and Port el­iz­a­beth to um­tata, oc­cur­ring on rocky out­crops and in­ac­ces­si­ble cliffs where they are well-protected.

10 Drosera capen­sis ‘Alba’ is cov­ered in a sticky mu­cus for trap­ping in­sects. The leaves roll in­wards, bring­ing the plant’s di­ges­tive glands in con­tact with the prey and within an hour ten­ta­cles on the leaf ’s sur­face fur­ther en­snare it. The flow­ers last just one day.

11 Anacampseros arach­noides na­tive to south africa, the botan­i­cal name anacampseros is an an­cient one for herbs sup­posed to re­store lost love. The plants are self-fer­tile and pro­duce seeds in a cup of up­right fil­a­ments. They can reach 15cm in height and are dor­mant in win­ter. The flower pods only open when the light is bright enough.

12 Or­bea var­ie­gata doc­u­mented to flower in win­ter, this one pro­duced a bloom in sum­mer. ‘It seems some of them are op­por­tunists,’ laughs Filipa, who refers to them as ‘beau­ti­ful won­ders’. We agree.

13 Ber­garan­thus sp. ‘I love this plant,’ says Filipa of the eastern Cape gem. ‘The flow­ers open to­wards the end of the day when it’s cool­ing down and the plant can flower year-round.’ The genus is con­sid­ered to be in need of tax­o­nomic clar­i­fi­ca­tion, as species have merged and are dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish. Filipa n Domingues @check­my­plants

‘I’m still al­ways blown away by th­ese freak flow­ers,’ says filipa domingues of her stapelia gi­gan­tea In full, nox­ious bloom. known glob­ally as ‘african starfish’ flower, It’s na­tive to south­ern cen­tral africa and south africa. the size and colour of the flower, com­bined with Its trade­mark rot­ting flesh odour, at­tract flies and lead to their cer­tain death

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