flowers, most of ihem are prized for their curious forms and highly decorative leaves. These Qeshy leaves are sometimes attached to the stems alternately, in pairs at right angles to each other, or held in tight rosettes. Their surfaces are usually covered with wax or hairs, and are often beautifully marked and colored.

The twenty-five or more genera in the Crassula family are so widely scattered throughout the world and so diverse in form and habit that they have been divided into six major tribes as follows:

The Cotyledon Tribe. There are two important genera in this first tribe which have been known for a long time b\ the common name Cotyledon (koi-i-lee -dun) But recently the smaller cotyledons with narrow, erect flowers have been grouped into a new genus called Adfqmisckus(ad-ro-mis'-kus).

I hese miniature cotyledons, of which there are more than twenty species, are all native to Namaqualand and Cape Province in South Africa, Although they are tiny plants, only an inch or two high with very inconspicuous flowers, they axe highly prized for their thickt alternate leaves, which are beautifully shaped and colored. Every collection should include Adromischus cristatus. whose tiny crested leaves and red stems, hairy with aerial roots, have given it the popular name Sea Shells. And equally fine are the compact clusters of fat, club-shaped, silver-green leaves of A. c!avifoliust so often called Pretty Pebbles. But perhaps the best loved of all are the spoiled species such as A* maculates, whose thick, flat leaves marked chocolate brown are called Leopard's Spots; and A coopers whose tiny egg-shaped leaves spotted maroon red are known the world over as Plover s Eggs Actually am and all species of adromischus make perfect potted plants for the beginner because of their small size beautiful colors, and exquisite forms, jl"

The larger-growing genus Cotyledon contains more than thirty species, all native to South Africa, Abyssinia, and

southern Arabia, These cotyledons are usually strong plants forming bold clumps, o; even shrubs, and are as much admired for the exceptional form and color of their leaves as for their large clusters of" pendent flowers in bright yellow, red, and green.

There are two classes of cotyledon: those with persistent leaves, and those like C cocdiioides, which develop a new rosette of leaves each year only to shed them in their summer resting period- Since these deciduous types are not especially attractive and rather difficult to propagate from cuttings, they are rarely grown Bui alt ihe other species are very popular.

Perhaps the best known are those shrubby kinds which have thick rounded leaves heavily powdered with a beautiful white bloom. Here we find C orbiculata, a three-foot shrub with frosty leaves margined red; C. ausanaf a dwarf species scarcely half as large but with very white leaves and bright orange-red blooms; and, best of all, G undulata, whose broad snowy leaves, beautifully waved and fluted along the margins, have won for it the popular name Silver Crown,

In marked contrast to these shrubby white-leaved species are several low-growing cotyledons with quite small, fleshy, pointed leaves. ( teretifolia is probably the most popular and distinct of these, with its clusters of erect, dark green, hairy, cylindrical leaves and pale yellow flowers in summer.

All these popular species of adromischus and cotyledon are of the easiest culture, with no special requirements as to soil or water, But in order noi to spoil the powdery white bloom on the leaves of some of them ii is best not to waier overhead, All members of this tribe develop their best form and color by getting as much air, warmth, and sunlight as possible, but many can stand considerable frost in winter They are all easily propagated by seed or, better still, by leaf or stem cuttings in spring.

0 0

Post a comment