Although this Family (Chapter 10) is predominantly leaf-succulent, three of
Below (21 9) Crassula septas in semi-shaded woodland on the slopes of Table Mountain
the largest genera also exhibit trends to water storage in stems and roots. Sedum rosea (21.7) has already been referred to on page 116; it is native to the Northern Hemisphere up to the Arctic Circle, and hence the hardiest of succulents, as well as being one of the most variable. In the genus Crassula, the Section Tuberosae includes deciduous species such as C. septas. 'Cape Snowdrop' (21.9), that perennates with a cyclamen-like corm.
The Family that provides our gardens with marrows and cucumbers, melons
Lett (21.8): The Elephant's Fool' Dioscorea (Testudinaria) elephantipes; a 5-year old seedling showing the tessellated 10cm (4in) caudex and bryony-like foliage
Below (21 9) Crassula septas in semi-shaded woodland on the slopes of Table Mountain and pumpkins, is prolific in curiosities, and in the semi-desert regions of both Central America and southern Africa extraordinary caudiciform types occur. Jacobsen describes 19genera. and others could be added. Xerosicyos we have already encountered as a leaf succulent (page 112). Kedrostis (21.6) is typical of the majority and one of the commonest: K. nana is native to the Cape Peninsula and is hence used to a fairly moist climate as in Europe. Succulent cucurbits are apt to produce yards and yards of climbing stems which occupy much space and need tidying up as the leaves drop. The flowers are little compensation, being small and unisexual, but the fruits are more showy, and it is worth the effort of hand pollinating. Some species are dioecious. In Neoalsomitra the caudex has long green prickles, somewhat like a chestnut burr, and the giant of the group is Dendrosicyos. endemic to Socotra. which is reported to grow 6m (20ft) tall in habitat.
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