Description: Cheridopsis purpurea is a
small tufted succulent that, when mature, forms large clumps or dwarf
Stems: Very short.
Leaves: Opposite joined at the base, fleshy, stout, three-angled
and keeled, silvery green with minute green speckles (translucent in
backlight) on the underside, about 3,5 cm long, only 1 or 2(-3) pairs
per branches with the younger pair that remains joined almost its entire
length while the older pair(s) fully opened begins withering to form a
thin wrinkled sheath.
Flower: Solitary, pedicellate and bracteate at the branch tip,
brilliant magenta pink up to 3.5 cm in diameter and their size gradually
increases in the course of several days after blooming. C.
purpurea open and close their flowers each day for a long time
in winter to early spring (but occasionally a second flush of flowers
appears in June). Flowers start opening around noon and closes up at
dusk, but inner petals complete to unfold only after several days,
hiding the interior center in the beginning. The reproductive part of
the flowers mature gradually, after a few days when flowers unfold
completely in the centre it is possible to see only the outer ring of
sterile stamens. The central ring of stamens containing viable pollen
start to open only after a few days and the stigma appears later after
some more days. It is in fact a fairly common strategy (found in many
other plants species) that active stigmas and stamens mature at separate
times to prevent self pollination.
The stigma is quite elaborate and particularly decorative with very
frilly lobes. Staminodes absent.
Fruit: The fruit is a multilocular capsule with awned wings,
membranes and large closing bodies.
Note: The Cheiridopsis are dormant in summer and grow chiefly
from late summer to winter.