Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plant profile: Drosanthemum

I have recently been on an iceplant kick. You know, those little succulent groundcover plants with the amazingly bright, starry flowers? Well there are 135 genera of iceplants, and I've been collecting one or two here and there.

Annie's Annuals has quite a few, and last year that's where I bought what I thought were two of the same species  - Drosanthemum bicolor. However, when they flowered for the first time this year one of them turned out to have pinky-purple flowers and I think it's Drosanthemum striatum (middle). The D. bicolor is the one shown above (photo courtesy Boj Florido) with the bonkers red-orange-yelllow flowers all over it. The last species we have is one given to us by John and I think it's D. floribundum (photos left courtesy Boj Florido). This one grown on the cactus wall and has somewhat larger flowers and a flatter habit than D. striatum

Latin name: Drosanthemum ("dross-AN-them-um")
Common name: Dew Flower, Vygie (Afrikaans diminutive for "fig")
Originally from: Southern and western South Africa
Blooms: When the sun comes out the plant is covered in little flowers. Red/orange/yellow or purple.
Light: Full sun please!
Water: Rain is plenty.
Where to find in P. Garden: Two of the species we have live in the middle back bed. One is on the cactus wall.

There are about 100 species of Drosanthemum in southern and western South Africa. The genus name Drosanthemum, was derived from the Greek words drosos, meaning dew and anthos meaning flower, describing the glittering water cells on the leaves of many species that resemble drops of dew or tiny ice crystals. They only open when the sun comes out so head to the garden then to see 'em.

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