Portulacaceae

Chapter 12 covers the leaf-succulent members of this Family and Chapter 15 those with fleshy stems. There are also a few species of Portulaca and Talinum (21.21) with swollen underground storage organs and more or less deciduous aerial parts. Talinum caffrum is noteworthy for its pleasant yellow flowers like small primroses, and grows rapidly from seed. But the greatest treasure, and quite unique among succulents, is Ana-campseros alstonii (21.22), with a flat cake-like caudex up to 10cm (4in) or more in diameter covered with a white crown made up of hundreds of fine wiry branches, each packed with papery overlapping stipules concealing the minute green leaves below. By comparison with the branches that bear them, the pearly white flowers are gigantic — 2.5 to 3cm (1 to l'/iiin) across—and are freely borne in summer. Grown from seed, a pea-sized tuber is produced the first year.

Vitidaceae

The stem-succulent Vitidaceae are dealt with in Chapter 15; here belong a few species with massive caudices that were formerly included in the same genus Cissus but are now segregated as Cypho-slemma. The thick, soft, greenish trunks are covered in peeling bark and bear large, fleshy, entire or three-lobed leaves that drop in the dormant season: one could equally class it with stem succulents, being intermediate in form. C.

grows so large in South West Africa that I have climbed up among the branchesand found a natural "armchair" the top. Cyphostemmasgrow rapidly from seed and adapt well to a summer growing season when they can take plenty they are among the easiest of caudiciform plants to manage. The tiny flowers are borne in broad, flat-topped inflorescences and are followed by small purple grapes (2.21).

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