The Daisy Family The Compost toe

While some plant families, like the Cactus and Crassula, have become almost wholly succulent in the process of evolution, others like the vast Daisy, or Composite, family have developed surprisingly few succulent members. Actually the succulent relatives of our sunflowers, daisies, and thistles are

* t . r.r found in only three or four closely related genera, the most important of which is the genus KJeinia (kly'-ni-ah).

The kleinias are generally small succulent shrubs or trailing plants with fleshy stems and leaves and thistlelike flowers, all native to North and South Africa, the Canary Islands, and the East Indies. Perhaps the best-known species is the popular Candle Plant, A, articulata, whose thick, jointed, waxy green stems form an erect two-foot shrub bearing bluish leaves and whiLe flowers during the winter growing season. Two other species with very similar growth habits arc A. ameuphorhium, which makes a five-fool shrub with somewhat thinner stems, and K\ neriifolia% which forms very thick stems up to ten feet high crowned with a rosette of leaves thai disappear at the firsi sign of drought. In this same group we might also include ihe curious Inch worm Plant, K. pendula. a clustering dwarf whose thick naked stems loop up and down as they go forward across the ground and finally bear large flower heads [hat look like scarlet carnations.

Quite distinct from these thick-stemmed shrubby species which shed their leaves after the growing season are a num-

ber of low. trailing plants with fleshy, persistent leaves Proh ably the most popular of these is the handsomeT' whose brilliant, blue-green, cylindrica] lea es have beenTnT named Blue Chalk Sucks. Very sim.lar but la g , " ^

are and & nanjraliscae. and verv much ll e m 311 « that hanging-basket plant c^. But the finest of all these trailing kleinias is the sn^wy-

admired SS2T *5 %

The genus Senecio (se-nee'-shi-oh) is so similar in most respects to the genus Klein,a that the two have been combined and separated repeatedly in botanical literature. Actually there are some minor differences in the thistlelike flowers of these two genera, and popular usage now seems to favor keeping them apart. The senecios are native to Cape Prov ■nice and Southwest Africa, and although they comprise a relatively large group of succulent herbs, shrubs, and vines only two spec.es are common in amateur collections Senecio scaposus, with its rosettes of slender, six-inch, white felted leaves, is an exceptionally handsome plant in any collection And the curious Candy Stick. 5. stapeliiformis. is "as much admired for its thick, many-angled stems as for its bright red summer flowers.

Because they have typical daisy flowers, plana in the genus Othonna (oh-thon'-ah) are perhaps the most easily recognized succulent members of the Daisy family. Although there are many species of othonna in South Africa, only one is commonly grown by amateurs. O. crassi/o/ia. It is difficult to imagine a more beautiful hanging-basket or ground-cover plant than this dainty trailer. 7t is prized not only for its myriad bright yellow flowers displayed the year round, bui for its tiny fresh-green leaves that have been aptly dubbed Little Pickles.

All these succulent members of the Daisy family are lender and must be planted in a well-drained soil, given careful

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment