Archivo de la etiqueta: pseudotruncatella

Noid again II

Thanks to ©Pat Hayes at www.realbirder.com
Thanks to ©Pat Hayes at http://www.realbirder.com

A the story goes, a solitary red hartebeest was travelling into the Erongo Mountains, on behalf of Grandfather Mantis. It knew, for Grandfather Mantis had told him so, this was not a good place to be. No open water, no dry grass left in the crevices, nothing to search for but pebbles and boulders and starry nights.
The red hartebeest though had a particular task to fulfill and did not mind. It had been chosen for it was keen-eyed and none but itself would be able to find those special pebbles Grandfather Mantis wanted to hide from the All-Devourer. So it climbed up the hills and hid them all – there weren’t many left – using its worn hooves.

A few thousand miles away, lost on the shelves of a DIY – store, a few two-inch-pots with flowering pebbles await customers to spend an euro as reward for a yellow coloured daisy flower. While most customers don’t even notice them, the few that do hardly believe their eyes: these brightly flowering plants seem to be Lithops werneri,  considered extinct  in  the  wild for  years  and  re-discovered only in 2012,  while trying to re-establish some seedlings bred in captivity.

How on earth did these beefy-bred Lithops werneri  find their way to a DIY – store in Spain?

Under the hooves 2: Lithops werneri cf.

under the hooves 3: Lithops werneri cf

I bought one pot only and noticed that these flowers open even wider after sunset, closing about 8:00pm, so very little time for eventual pollinators to find the flowers which – not surprisingly, really – have a strong honey scent. Not sure if I had purchased an highly unlikely rarity or just an unidentifiable variety or even an hybrid of Lithops pseudotruncatella, I needed further advice. First choice is always one of the authorities on Lithops,  Steven Hammer.

Under the hooves 4: Lithops werneri cf.

Under the hooves 5: Lithops werneri cf.

Most characteristics however, do coincide. The obvious and striking difference is the size of the plant (“bodies the size of a pea” according to Werner Triebner, after whom this species is named), the lack of clear rubrications (which may change if sitting in the sun, as they now are) and the size of the flowers.  Letting aside that highly unprobable circumstance that Lithops werneri shows itself up at a department store chain, provided by local nurseries, the obvious beefy appearence of these plants is a common trait most succulent plants show when raised for mass production. Though the terms ‘mass production’ and ‘Lithops werneri‘ seem contradictory: its nearly impossible to obtain large numbers of seeds of this species.

under the hooves 6: Lithops werneri cf.

under the hooves 7: Lithops werneri cf.

But who am I to disagree, I’ve not only surrendered already to the beauty of the deep yellow daisy flowers, I’ve bought all pots left … Five flowers opened a few days long every late afternoon for two to three hours, time enough for some photographs and some busy paintbrush.  With the help of funny little bees up to the work, too, I hope for seed capsules; raising the seed will give further evidence of the species.

Under the hooves 8: Lithops werneri cf.

Under the hooves 9: Lithops werneri cf.

under the hooves 10: Lithops werneri c.f. by night
It seems the red hartebeest has done its best to guard this flowering pebble for the First People. A piece of magic could certainly be involved, as the several hundreds of tiny Lithops werneri  collected and exported by Triebner himself in the early 50s, and all the collectors after him have not yet extermined this taxon.  Maybe we have to thank Naureen Cole that little werneri has somehow managed to survive and even enter the wholesale market of unlabelled Lithops. But this will be an other story.

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one year old lithops

first birthday Lithops bromfieldii 1
Pretty turgent and apparently smirking with satisfaction, Lithops bromfieldii C348 .
first birthday Lithops dinteri 2
With joyful red dots, Lithops dinteri C206.
first birtday Lithops pseudotruncatella 3
Very different size shows Lithops pseudotruncatella (alpina) C068 after one year growing  together.
first bierthday lithops terricolor 4
The last one to germinate, Lithops terricolor ‘peersi’ C131 are now  the biggest of all seedlings.
first birthday Lithops hookeri 5
Lithops hookeri subfenestratabrunneoviolacea‘ C019 has been by far the most prolific and vigorous of all species sown.
first birthday lithops lesliei venteri maraisii 5
First to hatch, these Lithops lesliei venteri ‘maraisii’ C153 are not the biggest after their first year.
first birthday lithops hallii 7
Germinated very plentyfull, most Lithops hallii C119 died during a hot spell in midsummer in an intruiging sudden death episode. Only a few remained.
first birthday Lithops lesliei luteoviridis 8
Lithops lesliei luteoviridis C020, compact and greenish/yellowish over a grey body.
first birthday lithops julii brunnea 9
Lithops julii brunnea C179 has largely grown in the shadow of a tolerated weed, Conyza bonariensis, and does seem to like it.
first birthday lithops verruculosa 10
Also this one suffered much in summer, Lithops verruculosa C129, two of the few remaining seedlings.

Happy birthday to you all!

Green II

Green cultivars among Lithops are not rare. And usually I’m not fond of them. Perceptions change dramatically when one of the green ones appears in one’s own sowing tray. Now that there is what seems to be a first green pseudotruncatella,   I am very proud. pseudotruncatella green 1And obviously, it has been a tough struggle to get rid of it’s first true pair of leaves. The first pair, already greenish, but not very differrent from the rest of pseudotruncatellas, had been swelling for weeks, from a very tiny body to a nearly one cm ‘blob’. No signs whatsoever of a fissure, and the uplifted body still is perfectly turgent. Then, behind a little stone, there it sat – a complete solid green Lithops pseudotruncatella. So, let’s keep fingers crossed, for there is still a long way to adulthood for this little green cultivar. If it really is one, for after the next molt it could turn back to the usual colour.
pseudotruncatella green 2The ‘normal’ coloured pseudotruncatelllas from the same batch are stronger and display the well known patterns of this species.

pseudotruncablablabla green
No trace of reds or browns – solid green as far as I can tell. But before naming it, I’ll wait what happens after the next two molts. Photographed with 1/64 of additional flash to tease out any possible colour.
green pseudo 4Three days later there is still no red pigmentation. I added some black sand, for the exposed neck didn’t look right.

green and gay pseudotruncatella 5

pseudotruncatella 6
No trace of green Lithops left after changing leaves. Still one of the tiny pseudotruncatellas, but one of the most beautifully coloured.

So small is small!

rodde pimient small 2

There now is some evidence that a pea does not quite serve as a   rule for the size of Lithops seedlings. To big in most cases and far to much volumen in comparison to the body of a junior living stone.

Here comes the common peppercorn. Nearly 5 mm and only a quarter of the volume of a pea. That will make the difference.

so small is 2.1For obvious resaons – visibility and glamour – I cannot refrain from choosing the pink peppercorn as reference.

Lets see if it works:

L. hookeri C019 and a pink peppercornhookeri and pink pepperkornL. dinteri C206 and a pink peppercorndinteri  small 5L. hallii C119 and a pink peppercornhalli and pink 7L. fulviceps C266 and  the pink peppercornfulviceps and pink 8L. karasmontana ‘Top Red’ and a peppercornkaras and pink 9L. pseudotruncatella C068 and a pink peppercornpsuedo and pink 6What do you think? A peppercorn fits better, doesn’t it?

albinica and peppercornAt least for juvenile Lithops. L. lesliei ‘albinica’ and a pink peppercorn.
how small is ... conophytum 10

And it works for Conophytum as well. This C. violaciflorum just hatched in its first winter/rainy season.

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The first leaves in the life of different Lithops species – a comparison

Lithops generally are easy to germinate. Most seeds, if not to fresh, will sprout in a few days, and there will be germinations many weeks later, too.

The embryo quickly forms a body, consisting of the two cotyledons or seed leaves and a tiny tap root.

At this stage, all you see is very green and extremely frail. Two green tips and a fissure in the middle – one millimeter all in all.

green cotyledon

The fine gravel looks like big boulders but soon the young plant will be able to push its way up to more light and sun. The tiny plant  changes quickly into the caracteristic shape of its species – a flat cotyledon like e.g. in L. lesliei or L. aucampiae, or barrel-shaped as for instance in L. bromfieldii. One other characteristic is the length of the tiny fissure, where the two fused cotyledons leave a gap for the next pair of leaves to emerge – the first true pair of leaves of the young Lithops plant.

terricolor 200 1Terricolor 85d 200terri 108d 200

left: 39 days old; right: 85 days old; bottom: 108 days old

 Lithops terricolor ‘peersii’ C131 has an apple-shaped cotyledon with short fissure. The hatchling changes  into a loaf-of-bread-like  shape with a short fissure.

verruculosa 39dverruculosa 51dverruculosa 170d

left: 39 days old; right: 51 days old, bottom: 170 days old

Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosa C129 has little, reddish-grey, barrel-shaped cotyledons with long fissure and a distinct pair of first leaves . The fissure extends over the whole face, bordered with ruby-red verruculae.

pseudotruncatella 36 dayspseudotruncatella 47dpseudotruncaella 176d

left: 36days old; right: 47days old; bottom:176 days old

Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’ C068 quickly forms ruby red, tiny barrel-shaped bodies. The colour fades to a dull greenish brown just until the first true leaves appear. The little plant is 2 – 4 mm wide. Very short fissure, hardly visible.

otzeniana 39dotzeniana 86dotzeniana 170d

left: 39days old; right: 86 days old; bottom: 170days old

Lithops otzeniana C280 does not germinate as readily. The young cotyledon-bodies are green with a red hue and apple-shaped. The fissure runs through 3/4 of the surface. While the first pair of leaves appear, the cotyedons persist and split deeply. The fissure of the newly formed body runs from side to side.

lesliei maraisiilesliei maraisii 86dlesliei maraisii 103d

left: 14days old; right: 86 days old; bottom: 103 days old

 The cotyledons of Lithops lesliei ‘Maraisii’ C 153 form a flat elliptic body, shiny, grey with a lilac hue, and a small central fissure. The first true pair of leaves resemble the adult Lithops and have a short, reddish fissure.

julii brunnea 39djulii brunnea 98djulii brunnea 138d

left: 39days old; right: 98 days old; bottom: 138 days old

Lithops julii brunnea C179 has green or dull coloured, barrel-shaped bodies,  with a long fissure that nearly runs from side to side. The emerging Lithops looks like the adult and has a complete fissure.

hookeri subfenestrata brunneoviolaceaHookeri subfenestrata brunneociolacea

left: 126 days old; right: 175 days old

Lithops hookeri var. subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’ C019 makes fairly big, flat-topped, barrel-shaped cotyledons, reddish and dark, with short fissures. Just before hatching the cotyledons fade to a dull beige. The emerging colourful body is flat,  with a short fissure that sometimes runs over half or more of the surface.

hallii hallii 86 dayshallii hallii 138 days

left: 86 days old; right: 138 days old

Medium dark grey cotyledons are characteristic of Lithops hallii C119, shiny and flat, with a strong and long fissure over rhe whole face of the body. The first true leaves display a new colour, and a complete fissure.

julii fulleriJulii fulleri 170 days

left: 39 days old; right: 170 days old

A very distinct first pair of leaves emerge from small and inconspicuous cotyledons.  The cotyledons of Lithops julii var. fulleri C162A are round and dull coloured, the fissure is long. The new body formed by the two true leaves rises high above the slowly drying cotyledon, with a complete fissure and the fully visible grey conus of the typical Lithops. These plants have recieved the same amount of light and sun as all those previously shown!

aumpiae cotyaucampiae hatchling

both plants are 175 days old!

Lithops aucampiae C333 do their own thing. While some hatch and grow, others still await looking at the outside world. Flat, shiny cotyledons, barrel-shaped with a distinct concave face with a rim, grey or reddish, always dark, short fissure. The new pair of leaves form a nearly round, textured body, with a short fissure.

L. lesliei lesliei 'luteoviridis'Lesliei luteoviridis 173d

left: 86days old; right: 173 days old

Lithops lesliei lesliei ‘luteoviridis’  has flat, elliptic, rimmed cotyledons. The fissure is half the length of the smaller diameter. The first leaves look like a small Lithops luteoviridis; with a short fissure, as in all lesliei- seedlings I’ve seen.

How big is big?

¿Qué tamaño tiene un guisante?

How big is big?

Take your time: How big is a pea? Be honest now, before you count the millimeter  divisions, how big would you guess is a pea? And is a pea bigger or lesser than a one year old Lithops?

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                 Problem solved! The average green garden pea is 9mm.            I’d have given it far less than nearly 1 cm!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis little fellow – Lithops karasmontana ‘Top Red’ –  is 18 month old.

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And this is Lithops hookeri ssp. subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’. Five month old.

pseudotruncatella groendrayensis

Two and a half years old: Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. groendrayensis

lesliei venteri maraisi

 Both Lithops lesliei ssp. venteri ‘Maraisi’ , sown November 2013, are now  five months old.

verruculosae inae

And the jewel loaded Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosae ‘Inae’  is a year and a half.

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I ignore how old these four may  be, as they flowered last autumn,    they are adults altogether :  Lithops lesliei ‘Albinica’.

pseudotruncatella aplina

These three – you spot them? – are 5 month old.  Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’.

Well then. Let’s see if a pea is a good criterion for the size of Lithops. Here we go:

karamontana and peahookeri and peagroendray and peamaraisii and peainae and peaYou  already imagine how  it  will look like for the tiny pseudotruncatella, don’t you?albinica and peapseudotruncatella and peaFive 6 months old Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’ C068 together are smaller than a 0,9cm pea.

These plants have germinated in full sun at 28º N latitude (which is pretty near to their S latitude procedence btw) and they have all the pigments they need for protection. What they (still) don’t have is a volumen that helps them to survive in dry and hot atmospheric conditions. Make the experiment: place a pea in the sun and watch.

You won’t have to wait long!

So, please, in summer and whenever it is hot and dry – bury your little treasures or give them shade.

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