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  Gibbaeum schwantesii CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Gibbaeum schwantesii  Phisantefontein.
The flowers can be white or pink/violet, they open in winter
and last for a long time.
 

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Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)

Scientific name:  Gibbaeum schwantesii  Tischer 1937

Origin:  Riversdale, Little Karoo desert in South Africa

Habitat: Grows in flat areas among white quartzite pebbles.

Synonyms:

  • Mentocalyx muirii N.E.Br.
    In CG 1927:352.
  • Gibbaeum muirii Schwantes
    in Jacobsen 1935: 180 Nomen illeg. Non N.E.Br. T. Muir 3892 (K)A

Etymology: The genus name "Gibbaeum"  is derived from the Latin word "gibba" which means "hump" got its name from the leaf pair where the leaves differ from each other in shape and size.
The name 'schwantesii' comes from Gustav Schwantes  (1881-1960), German professor of prehistory at Kiel University, and Mesemb specialist. (Aizoaceae)

Notes: Various species of the genus Gibbaeum are called in Afrikaans, ‘Haaibekkie’. In English this means ‘beak of a shark’. This very apt name is derived from the shape of the two leaves that together form the plant growth. They differ in size and because these leaves grow closely together the fissure of most species looks exactly like the beak of a shark, though without the teeth of course.

Description: Perennial clumping, mat forming succulents. Up to 5 cm tall and 10 (or more) cm wide. The plant is compact with only the upper surface of leaves visible.
Leaves: Fleshy, dark green to green-brown or silvery/grey. The leaves forms unequal pairs, in which the longer leaf is mostly hook-shaped while the short one addpressed to it with a neat cut margin visible close to the the longer leaf. The epidermis is covered by characteristic minuscule branching hairs that give it a silver/velvety appearance. Every year a few new leaves grow from the central stem.
Flowers: Daisy-like, white to pale pink/violet up to 2-5 cm in diameter and long lasting. Pedicel 40-50 mm long. Petals white or white apically suffused in pink, filamentous staminodes white, basally faintly pink, filaments white
Blooming season: Winter.
Remarks:
It must be distinguished from the similar G. velutinum for its slender leaves, the longer more strongly incurved than the shorter, the branching epidermal hairs and the white or pinkish petals.



A 10 years old seedling. Although this slow growing species has very small heads, it spreads into grey-green carpets.
 

 


Cultivation:
Gibbaeums are "winter" growers heading for summer dormancy and notoriously difficult to grow because they rot very easily, but G. shwantesii is not difficult at all in cultivation, keeps going over the summer too and don’t’ need particular care . Requires little water otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water minimally in summer, only when the plant starts shrivelling, water more abundantly when they are growing in the fall and spring. Requires good drainage. Keep cool and shaded in summer, need full sun or light shade. They will take a light frost (Hardy to -5°C) if they are in dry soil.
Propagation:
Seeds, cuttings

 


Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery GIBBAEUM



 

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