Moraceae

Mulberries and figs are familiar household representatives of this Family which is related by its minute unisexual flowers to the hemp, hop and stinging nettle Families. A number of tropical figs. Ficus. have entered semi-desert areas and evolved grotesquely swollen, tapered trunks. Small specimens are occasionally to be found in succulent collections, valued for their bonsai appearance. Dorstenia, another widespread genus (170 species), has species in tropical and East Africa with a very fleshy caudex at or below ground level and thick branches covered in leaf scars. The bizarre flat or saucer-shaped inflorescences (4.19) that simulate a single flower have already been referred to on page 60. D. foetida (21.17) is the species most often seen in collections, although far from common, and seeds itself if given the chance. On

Right (21.17): Dorstenia foetida from Southern Arabia, commonest and least demanding species ol its genus in cultivation. The lemacled flower heads later expel the seeds explosively.

Below(21.18): Pelargonium carnosum from South West Africa In habil the succulent pelargoniums display a wide variety of lile forms ranging Irom fleshy stems to above- or below-ground caudices.

Moraceae And Its Genus

Socotra there is the unique endemic D. gigas, up to 1.2m (4ft) tall. Dorstenias need much warmth and can hardly be recommended to beginners.

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