Plant Highlights By Date
Eucalyptus is a large genus of more than 700 species in the Myrtle Family (Myrtaceae). While some species are tall trees, others have a multi-stemmed shrubby habit. Plants of the latter sort are referred to in Australia as “mallees,” and an example is Eucalyptus macrocarpa.
Agave ovatifolia is related to the widely grown Agave parryi, and its attractive rosettes of blue-gray leaves are reminiscent of that species.
The genus Pachyphytum belongs to the Crassulaceae, or Stonecrop Family, with the various species notable for their balloon-like chubby leaves, including Pachyphytum bracteosum.
The genus Gasteria belongs to the family Asphodelaceae, and it is closely related to the larger genus Aloe. Gasteria acinacifolia is a species found along South Africa’s southern coast.
Plants in the Papaveraceae, or Poppy Family, are often herbaceous annuals, as is the case with California’s state flower, Eschscholzia californica. At the other end of the size spectrum is Dendromecon harfordii, commonly known as the Channel Island Bush Poppy.
A sizeable majority of the species in the Aizoaceae (Ice Plant Family) come from southern Africa, and some of the family’s genera are concentrated in the winter-rainfall area, on the west side of South Africa and the southwest corner of neighboring Namibia. One of the plants found in Namaqualand is Cheiridopsis denticulata.
South Africa has several tall-growing single-stemmed species of Aloe that make spectacular flower displays in winter. One of these is Aloe ferox, with an extensive distribution in the southern and southeastern part of the country.
All Lachenalia species have non-branching spires of flowers, and often the flowers are relatively short. However, a few species have longer tubular flowers adapted for pollination by sunbirds. One such species is Lachenalia punctata, with a large area of occurrence in the southwestern part of South Africa.
The Protea Family, Proteaceae, has many representatives in Australia, including about 170 species in the large genus Banksia. The great majority of the plants come from the winter-rainfall region in the southwestern part of Australia, but there are some notable eastern species as well, and one of these is Banksia integrifolia.
The genus Acacia, as it has been traditionally defined, is a large group from around the world, with the greatest concentration found in Australia. In 2006, when the genus Mariosousa was created, Acacia willardiana was renamed as Mariosousa willardiana.