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  Sarcocaulon crassicaule
(Syn: Monsonia crassicaule)
CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Sarcocaulon crassicaule is a beautiful bonsai type species with chunky sparsely spined
stems and one the most unusual and interestingly members of the Geraniaceae family.
It has large spines and white or yellow flowers.

Description: It is a succulent shrublet that can be up to 30(-50) cm high and wide with short spiny stems, branching just above soil level.
Stem: Branches up to 2 cm (usually >1 cm ) in diameter, grey or greyish-yellow fleshy, prostrate, semi-erect or erect, covered with waxy, translucent bark.
Root: Not swollen.
Leaves: Unsegmented ovate to obovate, olive green and covered with hairs with long and short petioles; Long-petioled (10-) 15(-19) x (8-) 10 (-16) mm. Short-petioled (6-) 15(-25) x (4-) 9 (14) mm, Lamina irregularly pinnatilobate, crenate or dentate.
Spines: The stem is covered with thick, straight or slightly recurved, greyish spines (spiny leafbases).
Flower: Delicate tissue paper like sulphur, light cream or white, 2,5-3(- 5,5) cm , Sepals: glabrous, puberulous or pilose, Petals: generally > 2 cm
Blooming season: Spring.
 


Family: Geraniaceae

Scientific name:  Sarcocaulon crassicaule Rehm. 1935

Origin:  western South Africa (Cape Province) to the southwestern half of Namibia

Habitat: Widely distributed and commonly found in winter rainfall regions where dry climatic conditions prevail, they are found mostly on low stony ridges, rocky hillsides or mountainsides, gravel, outcrops of weathered quartzite and red dune sands. In the winter months it may experience mild to severe frosts.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Bushman Candle, Groot Kersbos

They are commonly called bushmans candles due to the translucent flammable wax coating covering the stems of these plants so they will burn even when stems are not dry. The thick waxy layer protects it from moisture loss as well as damage from wind-blown sand allowing the plants to withstand the harsh extremes of climate found in the western parts of S. Africa and Namibia. The waxy coating over time polishes the stems a golden-brown colour.

Etymology: The name Sarcocaulon alludes to the Greek words for fleshy, sarkos, and stems, caulon.

Synonyms:  

  • Sarcocaulon burmannii
  • Monsonia crassicaule (Rhem) F. Albers
    Published in: SAJB 62(6) 346, 1996



Dimorphic (two forms) leaves characterize the genus, with the blades either long or shortly petioled. The long petioles occur singly and remain as blunt or sharp spines, the short ones occur singly or in groups of 27 in the axils of the long spines as blunt stalks.

 

 


Cultivation: Waterings from early early spring to fall at a minimum temperature of +14 C. Keep dry d winter, at a minimum temperature of +8 C. Protect from frost. S. crassicaule in cultivation is usually overwatered and over-fertilized  Correctly grown this is a beautiful, compact and dense plant. Do best with a mix that has almost no organic material at all. Perlite can be substituted for pumice but it tends to rise to the surface of the mixture.
Heat Tolerance: Light shade or morning sun in summer. Sun Exposure: Light shade

Reproduction: There are two main ways to propagate members of the genus Sarcocaulon: Seeds or cuttings. Cuttings often have problems developing a good root structure.
 


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

Photo gallery sarcocaulon


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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

Encyclopedia of Succulents