A los tres meses han crecido muchos tallos laterales, con sus hojas y sus diademas. Como una mitad de los tallos se iba secando paulatinamente, los corté y usé como esquejes. Algunos han crecido muy bien, otros pedacitos se han secado. Al final, ninguno sobrevivió la sequía del verano.
Al formarse un nuevo par de hojas, las diademas salen primero, lisas y pegadas, con la base amarilla, que al madurar – y al expandirse los rayos de la diadema en todas las direcciones – se vuelve marrón claro. Cuando en vez de un nuevo par de hojas sale un pimpollo, aparecen las diademas de 5 o 6 hojas – las que formarán los sépalos del pimpollo – a la vez. Ya voy buscando, ya. Su combinación de seis diademas debería delatarlo …
Eso si – la protección del incipiente capullo es buenísima. Aunque no son púas, sino pelos, que cuando están secos son bastante rígidos. Como su forma estrellada cubre las tres dimensiones no solo se ven muy vistosas, sino capaces de defender al jugoso pimpollo con su llamativos pétalos y estambres.
Antimima argentea (Rooivlei) has already left the common playground, 106 days.
Argyroderma congregatum, Vredendal, preparing for the second pair of true leaves. 106 days old.
Oophytum nanum and Gibbaeum velutinum, both 102 days old.
Growing a plant for the first time, and growing it from seed, is always a kind of challenge. A quick look at the photographs you may find in the web leaves you with a first impression of what to expect. And it leaves you with the doubt how to verify the downright conflicting images. Photographs of plants growing in situ naturally show weathered plants. Growing plants under protection, different lighting and watering regimes, does change the appearance drastically. This is specially true for plants that go through some kind of winter or summer dormancy.
I sowed the winter-growing Antimima argentea end of october. After four weeks the first pair of true leaves showed their tips, and now, fifty days later, the second pair of leaves can already be seen. Also, a red-dyed stalk raises the first pair of leaves, while from the cotyledons a first sidebranch makes its way. Compared to many other Aizoaceae, this is a rather quick growth.
My seedlings are all growing in full winter sun, being protected only from strong dissecating winds and heavy rainfalls.
At this stage I decided to give them a pot for themselves. Not for space but to allow the watering and feeding they will enjoy from now on.
In mid February the plants look like this: still seedlings, but in all parts very green, lush and fragile. Not at all like the plants I expected.
Five months old, and already forming little mats.
Not an April’s fool joke over here – the first buds are forming now – the plants are merely half a year old.
The flowers a showy, but not big. 8th of may and the first two buds open – and lots more to come. It seems like Antimima argentea is a quick spreading little plant, easy to flower. At least under my conditions.
The seed pod looks like most of the family look, easily to identify as Mesembryanthemaceae, as it was formerly known.
Antimima argentea (Rooivlei), first true leaves, 30 days.
Argyroderma congregatum, Vredendal; 30 days.
Oophytum nanum, Quaggaskop; 30 days.
I’m very happy about Lithops coleorum C396, Ellisras, germinating so eagerly. Growing this plant is a tribute to Naureen and Desmond Cole. 37 days old. Seeds from Mesa Garden.
Another one I’m eager to see grown up is Fenestraria rhopalophylla ssp. aurantiaca ‘Fireworth’. 38 days.
Ophthalmophyllum dinteri. Green, 43 days old eggs.
Schwantesia ruedebuschii ‘marlothii’, Aggeneys, which is supposed to have ‘stout red teeth’ does already show colour. 38 days.
Aloinopsis malherbei, Calvinia. Big, flat and dark. 56 days.
Dicrocaulon ramulosum, Riethuis. Already showing his water cells, growing along with Schwantesia. 46 days.
Closing the eleven, the first sphaeroid coming through is this Argyroderma congregatum, Vredendal. Smooth texture, milky sheen, linden coloured and a complete fissure, the first true leaves share one characteristic with the cotyledons: both sides are unequal. 50 days.
Sown in february 2014, I didn’t expect there were any living plants remaining in none of the pots I’d sown. Imagine my surprise when I saw these little bodies. And, oh dear, how tiny they are – you can even tell every cell of it!
Now that I’m aware of these little dumplings I intendedly left them sitting in the rain, over night they grew round and turgent.
Even with plenty of water, this Conophytum does not reach the dimensions of a pink peppercorn.
A few weeks later. I found a tiny moss near the stairs, added a bit of fine gravel, for the roots where far to exposed, and gave regular mistings when there was no rain. Both bodies have grown and left their old shells behind. Wintertime I learned, is conophytumtime.
If there ever has been life on Mars – or even if there still is life (which to me sounds more likely) – it cannot be weirder than our own aliens.
Anacampseros namaquensis buds bend down after each flowering, that is, they look like buds, but are not, they have just flowered their short two-and-a-half-hours-flowering, close tight as a bud and bend until being perfectly horizontal.
19 days later they make a second move. And again 90º until pointing into the zenith. This is when you know that you must be all attention. The next day, if weather is warm and dry, there takes place a bizarre show for those who watch closely.
Both sepals tear off from the base of the flower. They shrivel considerably, taking with them the gauzy petals that look as if pressed for a 3D-herbarium.
See both scars, the inferior, where the sepals inserted and the superior, with some fibres left, marks the abscission for the petals. You can see the green capsule – well, as green as there can be green on Mars – and take a good look, for it won’t remain long like this. In fact, the ‘veins’ you see will be the remaining latticework. Focus on the small notches at the base of the capsule…
…where the first tear slit appears. The outer tissue of the capsule will gradually open like an inverted flower.
Eventually, a martian gust of wind, and the whole hat flies away.
After a few hours all that remains is a filigran skeleton container, an inner layer of epidermis and, of course, the reason for all this effort: the seeds. The baskets look like being ‘half-filled’ and contain approximately 75 sculptured seeds.
Instead of drilling holes in martian debris, rover Curiosity should use one of its cameras to focus on tiny remnants of life like Anacapseros hats. Look at that landscape – sure they grow out there somewhere!
Though it could be that Mars has never seen something as extra-martian as an Anacampseros seed capsule.
I’d love to beam a basketful of fresh Anacampseros seeds up to Aeolis Mons; but I’m afraid that would be considered adulteration of local flora.
Every other day there are one or two flowers opening late and flowering shortly for two hours or so, closing quickly and as tight as the bud was. Just sometimes a little part of one of the petals is tucked in between the two sepals – one of the defining characterisitcs of the portulacaceae family: two sepals and 5 petals – revealing that this ‘bud’ has already flowered.
None of them has dropped until now. So, with a bit of luck I’ll get a few seeds from this first flowering! But one thing for sure: if you really plan to wear some flowers in your hair, you’d better choose some more hard-wearing flower than Anacampseros!
If you’re going to San Francisco
be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
if you’re going to San Francisco
you’re gonna meet some gentle people there
for those who come to San Francisco
summertime will be a love-in there
in the streets of San Francisco
gentle people with flowers in their hair
The first glimpse of a new seedling, Frithia pulchra, tiny and green.
This one has been three days exposed to light and sun:
And this one is about six weeks old now: the first leaf – a single leaf – growing.
Growing under the shadow of Cymbalaria muralis.
So kam meine erste Frithia pulchra anfang Februar an, grün, straff, winterlich verwöhnt … und so sieht sie jetzt aus:
Die Farbe ist hübsch, die Knospe (n) machen Spass, aber die ganze Pflanze ist weich und die Aussichten sind garnicht glücklich.
Keine zwei Tage später. Nun ist es passiert – fast über Nacht; kompletter Kollaps der Pflanze. Mit Zimt bestäubt, kein Wasser mehr. Schade um die Knospen, schade um die Pflanze.
Diese beiden Blätter leben aber noch…
Die ersten Sämlinge sind schon dabei, das erste – unpaare – Blatt zu schieben. Fein. Wieder warten auf die nächste Blüte!