January 2015 Plant Highlight: Cheiridopsis umdausensis

by Brian Kemble


Cheiridopsis is a genus of highly succulent plants in the Ice Plant Family (Aizoaceae), native to southern Africa’s winter rainfall region in northwestern South Africa and southwestern Namibia. Most flower between autumn and early spring. There are about 25 to 35 species, depending on whose species concepts are followed, but this is a considerable reduction from the approximately 100 species recognized when narrower species delimitation was in vogue. The leaves range from finger-like to shorter and fatter, like those of a Gibbaeum or an Argyroderma (these are other genera in the Aizoaceae). The majority of the species have yellow flowers, though a few have violet-purple or orange hues.


Cheiridopsis umdausensis is unique in the genus for the little white “goose bumps” on its leaves, which may also sometimes have a few tiny teeth toward the tip. It comes from Namaqualand in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. In time it makes a tight clump of many heads, and its light yellow flowers come out in late fall to winter. The flowers normally open in the middle of the day and close at dusk. Though it takes temperatures down to freezing without difficulty, it should be protected from cold snaps which go much below this.


Plant Donations to The Garden

Many people express interest in donating plants to the Ruth Bancroft Garden. These include plants that have grown too large for their space, may no longer be desirable for the owner, mature landscape plants that are being removed to make way for new plantings, or were owned by friends or loved ones. Plant donations to the garden are most appreciated but must be approved by staff prior to drop-offs. Many donations are repotted in our nursery and sold at our plant sales to raise money to support the garden, while a choice few plants will be accessioned into our collection, depending on the species and whether it is represented in our collection.

If you are interested in donating plants, we request that you email digital images of the plants along with any identifying information you may have to our Garden Curator, Brian Kemble. Brian will be happy to determine which plants are appropriate for donation.

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Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.  
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


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