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1018 Piaranthus foetidus

Piaranthus foetidus
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Descrizione

The colour of the open corolla varying from ivory, to sand coloured, centrifugally increasingly patterned with brown-red dots or transverse lines.

Family: Asclepiadaceae (Apocynaceae)  (Milkweeds family)

Piaranthus foetidus N.E.Br. 1908

Accepted Scientific Name: Piaranthus geminatus var. foetidus (N.E.Brown) Meve
In: bradleya 12: 84. ills., t. l (p. 97), 1994

OriginEastern and Western Cape Provinces

Etymology: "foetidus", stinking, evil-smelling; for the foetid odour of crushed plant parts

Synonyms:

  • Piaranthus foetidus N.E.Br. fide Bruyns
    In Stapeliads 2: 358 (2005).
  • Piaranthus foetidus N.E.Br. var. diversus fide Bruyns
    In Stapeliads 2: 358 (2005).
  • Piaranthus foetidus N.E.Br. var. multipunctatus fide Bruyns
    In Stapeliads 2: 358 (2005).
  • Piaranthus foetidus N.E.Br. var. pallidus fide Bruyns
    In Stapeliads 2: 358 (2005).
  • Piaranthus foetidus N.E.Br. var. purpureus fide Bruyns
  • Caralluma geminata (Masson) Schltr. fide White A. & Sloane B. L.
    Published in:The Stapelieae vol 2 p 808
  • Obesia geminata (Masson) Haw. fide White A. & Sloane B. L.
    Published in:The Stapelieae vol 2 p 808
  • In Stapeliads 2: 358 (2005).
    Podanthes geminata (Masson)G.Nicholson fide White A.&Sloane B. L. In: The Stapelieae vol 2 p 808
  • Stapelia geminata Masson

Piaranthus foetidus
The colour of the open corolla varying from ivory, to sand coloured, centrifugally increasingly patterned with brown-red dots or transverse lines. Blooms are noted for their unpleasant smell .

Description: Clumping and prostrate species that spread over the ground forming large cushions. This quite variable species shows a wide ecological amplitude and is the most common representative of Piaranthus.
Stems: Procumbent or ascending, 1 cm wide by 2-5 cm long, divided in short squat ovoid to shorty cylindrical, often clavate articles obscurely 4-angled, with 2-4 minute teeth along each angle. Surface smooth or slightly rough, light-green, tips faintly purple.
Flowers: 1 to 3 (rarely more) in a short inflorescence, Flowers have a strong sweetish odour of excrement, about 18 mm to 30 mm in diameter, star-shaped, pubescent, and velvety. Corolla lobes stout and fleshy, 5-7 mm broad, sometime basally fused, The colour of the open corolla varying from ivory, to sand coloured, centrifugally increasingly patterned with brown-red dots or transverse lines (sometime condensed to a more or less plain colouration) margin recurved. Corona yellow to orange.
Blooming season:
Produces numerous flowers simultaneously in October.

Taxonomy remarks : The genus Piaranthus  is a very confusing complex of extremely nearly related species with many intermediary forms growing together in many widespread localities and they are very difficult to distinguish. Also experienced botanist found difficulty to separate and classify reliably the various species and forms.
In particular Piaranthus geminatus var. geminatus is a very variable species which now also includes the former species P. globosus, P. disparilis, P. foetidus and P. pillansii.

Cultivation: Winter growing succulent similar to Duvalias, these small stapeliads are relatively easy to grow. They  require moderately watering through the growing season but enjoy plenty of water and some fertiliser in hot weather, this helps them to flower freely. Water more sparingly in winter according to temperatures. But, as with most asclepiads, it is unwise to leave them wet in cold weather. Winter care presents no problems at 5°C with plenty of light. Since roots are quite shallow, use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or 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.
Sun Exposure: Partial sun or light shade
Pest and diseases:   Stapelia species vary in their susceptibility to rotting, but are generally fairly easy to grow, especially if kept pest-free. They are very susceptible to stem and root mealy bugs, and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack. If you do have problems with a stem or with basal rotting, you can reliably isolate the healthy parts, dry them off, and re-root them in moist compost.
Cultural Practices: Re-pot every 2 years

Propagation: Easiest with stem cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry a day before planting. Stems must be laid (Not buried) on gritty compost and will then root from the underside of the stems. It can also be increased from seeds sowing in spring in moist, sandy peat moss.
Potting medium:  
Since roots are quite shallow, use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or 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.

Pollination: This plat are pollinated by flies (myiophilous pollination). Fly are attracted by olfactory stimuli, imitating dung or decaying organic (zoogenic or phytogenic) matter, together with mimetic colouration and, sometimes mimetic sculpturing. Nectar is present. The nectar mainly serves as optical attractant causing brilliance effects, and as visitor guide. However, nectar obviously is also a reward. In the pollination process flies carry pollinaria only at the distal parts of their proboscis, never on their legs. The pollinator spectra are similiar between of flowers in habitat and cultivated ones.