This species produces long lasting purple flowers from November to March. The Cheiridopsis are dormant in summer and grow chiefly from late summer to winter.
Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)
Scientific name: Cheiridopsis purpurea L.Bolus
Habitat: Granite and quartz outcrops.
Origin: South Africa (Richtersveld)
Cheiridopsis purpurea Karrachab
|Description: Cheridopsis purpurea is a small tufted succulent that, when mature, forms large clumps or dwarf shrublets. |
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.
Cultivation: The Cheiridopsis are easy to grow. These plants grow in winter rain-areas and head for dormancy in summer. Requires little water, otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Regular water in autumn through to spring. Water minimally in summer, only when the plant starts shrivelling but it will generally grow even in summer if given water. Requires good drainage. Keep cool and shaded in summer, needs full sun or light shade. Hardy to -2°C (or less)
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings.