Plant Highlights By Date
Some groups of plants, such as the kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos species), commonly have hairy or fuzzy flowers, but there are a few Aloe species with this trait, and these are found in northeastern Africa and across the Red Sea on the Arabian Peninsula. One such species is Aloe lavranosii, from Yemen.
The genus Puya is a large group of South American bromeliads, with 168 species listed in a 1974 monograph. Many species of Puya have showy inflorescences and unusual flower colors, and Puya spathacea, from north-central Argentina, is an excellent example.
The name Graptopetalum means “marked petals”, referring to the red lines or splotches found on the petals of most of the species. However, an exception to this rule is Graptopetalum mendozae, with pure white petals. This delightful little species is found only on 3 old volcanic plugs* in the state of Veracruz, not far inland from Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
Euphorbia is a very large genus, including many succulents as well as many non-succulent plants, from tiny annuals to large trees. Among the succulent species, there are spineless ones and also many spiny ones that look a great deal like cactus plants, including the Euphorbia polygona var. nivea.
Plants in the Bromeliaceae, or Bromeliad Family, are found in North America, the islands of the Caribbean, and South America, but the greatest number of them are from South America, like Deuterocohnia brevifolia.
Though Salvia (sage) plants occur around the world, the majority are from the Americas, including 18 species native to California. One of the latter is Salvia spathacea, commonly known as hummingbird sage.
The genus Odontophorus is a small one, with 4 or 5 species (plus an additional subspecies) native to the northwestern corner of South Africa. These plants belong to the family Aizoaceae, also known as the Ice Plant Family, one of the most species-rich groups of succulents in the world.
Agave dasylirioides is single-headed, and when a plant flowers one must start over again from seed, since this is the end of its life-span. 2020 marks the first year we have ever had A. dasylirioides come into bloom, so this makes it a special occasion for us.
South Africa is home to many plants in the Ice Plant Family (Aizoaceae), and they are well-represented in the winter-rainfall area in the west of the country. A few of these are widely grown, but others are seldom seen in cultivation, as is the case with Wooleya farinosa.
At the Ruth Bancroft Garden we grow Trithrinax campestris, a palm native to northern Argentina and Uruguay. This species is known as the caranday palm, or alternatively as the blue needle palm, with the latter name referring to its sharp-tipped leaves.