Monday, September 26, 2011

A Non-Local Indigenous Plant?

When drought hit last summer, I rescued/liberated/swiped a few cuttings from some thirsty succulent plants that were growing near a driveway in the wine lands outside Cape Town. I popped the cuttings in a pot with some soil, watered them and did what most succulent growers do at this point - I let them be.
A few months on, the cuttings are thriving, especially the one pictured below. I've identified it as Aeonium Arboreum, and there appears to be some dispute as to this plant's origins.

Above: Aeonium Arboreum. The cutting has trebled in size in six months. It's not as tough as the majority of our drought- and sun-loving local succulents, which makes me suspect that it is indeed an exotic succulent.

Above: A close-up of Aeonium Arboreum. Each cluster of leaves is arranged in such a way that from a distance they can be mistaken for flowers. The bristles on the edges of the leaves are not prickly, but are slightly coarse. The red-brown leaf tips contribute to the visual profile of the succulent by "outlining" the leaf edges.

The few information sources I've found online seem uncertain about the origins of this succulent. Some say that it originates from the Canary Islands, others say they are native to East Africa. Wherever they may have evolved, these plants have taken root here in South Africa, and as long as they are grown in a sheltered, partially-shaded area of the garden, they behave much like our local succulent varieties and thrive.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...