THE DJ > FAMILY
the South African genus Gasteria (gas-tec -ri-ah) are amone the handsomest of all succulents, for they are very closely re~ la ted to the aloes. All the fifty or more species have stiff tongue-shaped leaves, often wonderfully smooth and marbled with while or jeweled with tiny wartlike tubercles. From these they get their popular name. Ox Tongue.
Unlike the aloes, the gasterias do not always form symmetrical rosettes. Sometimes their flat leaves are arranged in two opposite rows with the ends lipped up to make a plant that looks like an open letter U; sometimes the U is twisied to form a spiral; but when the leaves are heavy and triangular they are usually grouped in a true rosette.
The flowers also differ from those of the aloes. They hang loosely on tail, gracefully curving spikes; the colors arc soft pinks and reds tipped with green, and there is a characteristic bulge at the base of each tubular bloom. On the whole, gasterias are much smaller plants too, wonderfully suited to pot culture in the home. Their strange forms, handsome foliage, and easy bloom have made them prime favorites with gardeners everywhere.
It is sometimes difficuh to recommend particular gastena species, however, for they have crossed so freely among themselves and the aloes that the list of varieties and forms seems almost endless. But it is worth while to remember thai virtually any and all plants in this genus are good and worth growing.
Of the species with two-ranked leaves G. verrucosa is probably the best known. It is especially admired for its tapering six-inch leaves, which take an shades of pink and purple in winter and are covered the year round with innumerable pearly-white tubercles, But the handsomest species in this group, and perhaps the whole genus, is & maculata. Its smooth, glossy, dark green leaves are beautifully spotted with white and gracefully twisied in a loose spiral. Although ll is
Was this article helpful?