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  Trichodiadema bulbosum CACTUS ART
NURSERY

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The Trichodiadema bulbosum is a South African succulent plant also known as the African Bonsai. Over time, it will slowly develop a thickened root system or caudex which is highly prized.
 

This member of the Aizoaceae family was given this name by Martin Heinrich Gustav Schwantes in 1926. The genus name "trichodiadema" means "threaded crown" referring to the hair radiating from the leaf tips.
 

Description: Caudiciform succulent with long stems. It branches heavily and forms a low, rounded shrub.
Caudex (enlarged napiform root): Irregular underground up to 20 (30) cm, in plants raised from seeds it is usually solitary but specimens grown from cuttings will form a thick much-branched tuber that have a tan shiny epidermis. The caudex can easily be raised above ground level out of the pot for ease of contemplation.
Stems: Wiry, densely branched up to 30(60) cm tall,
Leaves: 8 mm long succulent, cylindrical, bright green to grey with a crown of soft white bristles, making for a very attractive plant.
Flowers: Violet to purple-red with a yellow center (eventually also white or pink) 2 cm wide.
Blooming time: Flowers bloom from spring to autumn..
 

Cultivation: Likes a part-shade position (some early or late sun) but is quite tolerant as regards sun and intense heat. Growing in well-drained soil, Tolerates considerable frost a low as 4 C (or less) and dry conditions due to its tuberous roots. This species is slow growing and after some years, the roots can be raised for effect, creating a beautiful succulent bonsai. This plants in the first years are usually grown in black nursery containers but if you have a mature specimen with a nice caudex, a bonsai pot or dish seems to make the plant a little more special and helps display the plant well.
Propagation: Seeds, it can be also reproduced by cuttings.

USE:
Roots of Trichodiadema species have been used in the past for speeding the fermentation of bread, beer, etc. It is presumed they contain either yeast or sugars which increase the rate of fermentation.

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Photo gallery TRICHODIADEMA


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Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)

Scientific name:  Trichodiadema bulbosum (Haw.) Schwant. 1926

OriginWestern and Eastern Cape Provinces of the Republic of South Africa, (Port Elizabeth)

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common NameAfrican Bonsai

Synonyms:  

  • Mesembryanthemum bulbosum Haw. 1824
  • Mesembryanthemum intonsum, Haw.
  • Mesembryanthemum intonsum var. rubicundum Haw.
  • Trichodiadema intonsum, Schwantes 1926


The flowers are bright violet-purple with yellowhis-green centre from spring to autumn.
 

 



Trichodiadema bulbosum along with Mestoklema tuberosum are the two more famous succulent mesembs much sought after by the lovers of caudiciform and pachycaul. This species forms many short branches from tan tuberous roots that typically are exposed in cultivation.

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Encyclopaedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.