Avonia (Anacampseros) papyracea ssp. namaensis
lasts less than an hour.
Description: This species is the most common, largest and stoutest
of the Avonia group (the paper scale covered Anacampseros).
These unusual, plants have relatively large diameter stems (5-6 mm)
compared with other members of the genus and develop a mass of miniature
branching erect or creeping stems (Maximum size 5-10 (15) cm long).
grown from seed, produces branches from the top of tuber-like roots
pulled down into the ground.
It has minute green leaves which are each protected and hidden by very
closely imbricated and pure white, papery stipule, a characteristic of
the Avonia genus. This bright white scales certainly reflect a large
fraction of the visible solar radiation contributing to protect the
plants from the blazing sun of their bare habitat.
Flowers: The flowers are very small whitish-green and solitary, they
last less than an hour, and are so unobtrusively that it is very
difficult to recognized them as flower.
It has minute green leaves which are each protected and hidden by the
white, papery stipule, a characteristic of the Avonia genus.
A. papyracea is a small and unusual, jewel from South Africa,
slowly developing a mass of miniature branching stems covered by the
white, scale-like papery stipules.
Scales protect it from the sun, and from predators (in fact the plant
mimics bird droppings as a camouflage strategy and helps it to survive)
Scientific name: Avonia papyracea ssp. namaensis (M. Gerbaulet) G.D. Rowley
In. Bradleya, 12: 111 (prepr. 4 July):, 1994
- Anacampseros papyracea subsp. namaensis Gerbaulet (basionym)
- Avonia papyracea (E. Mey. ex Fenzl) G.D. Rowley, Bradleya, 12: 111 (prepr.
4 July):, 1994
- Anacampseros papyracea E. Mey. ex Fenzl
southern Namibia and Great Namaland through the Northern Cape Province
of the Republic of South Africa
Uses: It is an edible plant which was
traditionally used to induce the fermentation of homebrewed beer!
Cultivation: Although regarded as a choice and difficult plant, in
cultivation it is relatively easy. Plants grow very slowly and
requires careful cultivation.
Potting medium: Since roots are quite shallow, use a
cactus mix or add extra
pumice to regular soil
potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining
compost is suitable, and
clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering.
For best results, use a shallow pot, and only use the smallest diameter
pot that will accommodate the plant.
normally in the
growing season from March to
October, keep dry in winter. Feed with a high potassium
liquid fertilizer in summer.
It is quite frost resistant if kept dry, hardy as low as -5° C.
Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun. High levels of
light are needed to flower and for good plant development.
Clustering in cultivation, if grown correctly, it will reward the grower
with generous displays of tiny flowers.
that germinate at 15-21 °C