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Accepted Scientific Name: Cheiridopsis namaquensis (Sond.) H.E.K.Hartmann
Illustr. Handb. Succ. Pl.: Aizoaceae A-E (ed. H.E.K.Hartmann) 124 (2002 publ. 2001) comb. nov. H.E.K.Hartmann
Origin and Habitat: North central Mexico (Hidalgo, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi).
Habitat and ecology: It grows in grit, in a dry mountainous habitat, where it receives quite copious water in the short growing-period. These plants are very drought tolerant, and have developed a caudex (water storage organ) at and below ground level, a common survival strategy in dry climates.
- Cheiridopsis quaternifolia L. Bolus
Cheiridopsis namaquensis (Sond.) H.E.K.Hartmann
Illustr. Handb. Succ. Pl.: Aizoaceae A-E (ed. H.E.K.Hartmann) 124 (2002 publ. 2001) comb. nov.
- Cheiridopsis namaquensis (Sond.) H.E.K.Hartmann
- Cheiridopsis breachiae L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis brevis var. L.Bolus
- Cheiridopsis cigarettifera (A.Berger) N.E.Br.
- Mesembryanthemum cigarettiferum A.Berger
- Cheiridopsis curta L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis difforme N.E.Br.
- Mesembryanthemum difforme Thunb. non L.
- Cheiridopsis duplesii L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis framesii L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis hutchinsonii L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis intrusa L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis latifolia L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis longipes L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis luckhoffii L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis marlothii N.E.Br.
- Cheiridopsis quaternifolia L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis scabra L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis scabra var. fera (L. Bolus) H.Jacobsen
- Cheiridopsis scabra f. fera L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis serrulata L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis subalba L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis tenuifolia L. Bolus
- Cheiridopsis vesca (N.E.Br.)
- Mesembryanthemum vescum N.E.Br.
- Mesembryanthemum exiguum N.E.Br.
Description: Calibanus hookerii is an interesting looking plant that is related to the agaves, it looks like a trunk-less Nolina, topped by perennial grasslike silver-blue leaves that expand from a woody caudex (Swollen succulent root).
Caudex: The caudiciform base is hemispherical and woody with a fissured or plate-like brownish-grey bark and sits halfway out of the soil. It is very slow growing, generally it is 0,30 to 1 m in diameter but can eventually grow to 5 meters in diameter,
Leaves: Thin, wiry, flexible, grass-like, raspy surfaced that grows upright in the center of the plant and then arch down as they mature. They are somewhat concave and keeled, the margins are rounded. The leaves will get 30 to 90 cm long and are only 2-3 mm wide. They are blue green in colour. They appear on the plant as a crown formed by numerous bundles arising from the top of the caudex. The number of the bundles increase as the plant increase in size.
Flowers: The Calibanus is dioecious (there are male and female plants) or rarely some plants are hermaphrodite.. The clusters of flowers (panicles) are rigid about 10-20 cm long and partially hidden in the foliage. The flowers are pink or purplish and very tiny.
Fruit: Female plants bear globose, ovoid, three angled berries, 8-9 mm long, 6-7 mm in diameter. The fruits are straw-brownish to reddish and indehiscent.
Seeds: Mellon shaped, 3-4 x 3 mm wide.
Cultivation and Propagation: Calibanus hookeri is a very tolerant plant that can withstand temperatures of -15 Celsius degrees, but its exact hardiness is unknown. Because of its extreme drought tolerance, it makes a great container plant for light shade to full sun, or is an excellent foliage accent in a dry garden in warm regions. Might look its best in a vase shaped terra cotta pot to allow the leaves to drape downwards. It needs moderate water when actively growing, little water the rest of the time, if established. Outdoor it needs heavy soil with excellent drainage and circulating dry air. It is a tough plant. Having been bred to endure dry air and drought, it will survive for years in less than ideal conditions. It can stay in the same pot for a number of years since it prefers to be a bit rootbound.
Propagation: Seeds; it cannot be reproduced by cuttings of the caudex (or leaves).
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