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Origin and Habitat: Northern Richtersveld (Lekkersing, Gamoep), Bushmanland, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Habitat and ecology: Ihlenfeldtia excavata occurs in the area between winter and summer rainfall, as does its presumable next relatives (i.e., Tanquana and Vanheerdea). Rain c. 125 mm per annum. This species is usually found in quartz gravel patches formed by a loose lag of very small, brilliant white to clear-quartz pebbles overlying a thin veneer of soil on the underlying bedrock. Ihlenfeldtia excavata grows in association with obligate quartz-field succulent such as: Conophytum angelicae, Ruschia inclusa, Fockea comaru, Hoodia alstonii, Adromischus nanus, Crassula deceptor, Avonia ruschii, Crassula namaquensis, Conophytum maughanii, Hereroa puttkameriana, Anacampseros karasmontana, Avonia quinaria subsp. alstonii, Avonia papyracea, Sarcostemma pearsonii, and many other. Ihlenfeldtia excavata is also found on calcrete outcrops together with Conophytum pubescens, Conophytum calculus subsp. vanzylii, Titanopsis hugo-schlecterii and other calcrete-lovers. Heavy livestock grazing reduces the number of flowers per individual plant. The population trend is stable.
Ihlenfeldtia excavata (L. Bolus) H.E.K.Hartmann
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 114(1): 48. 1992 [16 Jun 1992]
- Ihlenfeldtia excavata (L. Bolus) H.E.K.Hartmann
- Cheiridopsis excavata L. Bolus
- Ihlenfeldtia excavata f. albirosea (L. Bolus)
- Cheiridopsis albirosea L. Bolus
- Ihlenfeldtia excavata f. dilatata (L. Bolus)
- Cheiridopsis dilatata L. Bolus
- Ihlenfeldtia excavata f. vanbredai (L. Bolus)
- Cheiridopsis vanbredai L. Bolus
Description: Ihlenfeldtia excavata is a compact succulent plant with few to up to 120 short branches, each with one (or two) pair of wedge-shaped leaves, keeled and laterally compressed, papillate and greyish, sometime growing sunken in the ground. The big white, buttercup-yellow or pink flowers are gorgeous. Populations differ in flower colours and expression of teeth on the keel. This species was included in Cheiridopsis until its removal from that genus (Hartmann 1988), separation was based on fruit characters.
Derivation of specific name: Latin “excavata”, hollowed, excavate; for the upper face of the leaves, which is concave near the leaf tip.
Leaves: Thick, mucronate, often with stout teeth on the excavated keel.
Flowers: Large, daisy-like, white, buttercup-yellow or pink in various shades, as for genus.
Fruits (capsules): 10-15-chambered, with a funnel-shaped base, bracteoles at base of pedicel.
Seeds: Elongate pear-shaped, 0.63-0.85 mm long.
Chromosome number: 2n = 18
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Ihlenfeldtia excavata group
Notes: Little Namaqualand.
Bibliography: Major references and futher lectures
1) Klaus Kubitzki, Jens G. Rohwer, Volker Bittrich “Flowering Plants · Dicotyledons: Magnoliid, Hamamelid and Caryophyllid Families” Springer, 28/Jul/1993
2) Doreen Court "Succulent Flora of Southern Africa" CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
3) Otto A. Leistner “Flora of southern Africa” 14: 194 1985
4) Jacobsen “Lexicon of succulent plants” Littlehampton Book Services Ltd. 1974
5) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
6) Dr J.P. Roux “Flora of South Africa” 2003
7) Heidrun E. K. Hartmann "Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae F-Z" Springer, 2002
8) Ernst Van Jaarsveld, Ben-Erik Van Wyk, Gideon Smith "Succulents of South Africa: A Guide to the Regional Diversity" Tafelberg Publishers, Limited, 01/Jul/2000
9) Gideon Smith u.a. “Mesembs of the World: Illustrated Guide to a Remarkable Succulent Group.” Briza Publications 1998
10) Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie. 114:1 47, Leipzig 1992
11) Steven A. Hammer "Dumpling and his wife: new views of the genus Conophytum" EAE Creative Colour Ltd., 2002
12) Burgoyne, P.M. 2006. “Ihlenfeldtia excavata (L.Bolus) H.E.K.Hartmann.” National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/12/18
13) Desmet, P. G. (2013). “Gamsberg Zinc Project: Vegetation Baseline and Impact Assessment” Report Draft 5. Report for ERM Southern Africa on behalf of Black Mountain Mining (Pty) Ltd/Vedanta Zinc International. 19 April 2013
14) “THE QUARTZ FIELDS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA: flora, phytogeography, vegetation, and habitat ecology” Inaugural - Dissertation zur Erlangung des Doktorgrades der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität zu Köln vorgelegt von Ute Schmiedel aus Helsinki / Finnland Köln 2002
15) Carolin Mayer (2010) “The impact of grazing on pollinators and pollination” In: Schmiedel, U., Jürgens, N. (eds.): Biodiversity in southern Africa 2: Patterns and processes at regional scale: 233–238. Göttingen & Windhoek: Klaus Hess Publishers
Cultivation and Propagation: Ihlenfeldtia excavata is most active from late winter until later spring and heading for summer dormancy, but in favourable growing conditions it keeps going over the summer too and doesn't need particular care. It is relatively easy to grow.
Soil: Requires good drainage as it it is prone to root rot. It can grows outdoor in sunny, dry, rock crevices (protection against winter wet is required) It can also be cultivated in alpine house, in poor, drained soil.
Fertilization: It thrives in poor soils and seems sensitive to an excess of potassium.
Watering: Water minimally in summer, only when the plant starts shrivelling, water more abundantly when they are growing in the autumn and spring. Requires little water otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars).
Light: It needs a bright sunny or light shade exposure in winter, but keep cool and shaded in summer.
Hardiness: It prefer a very bright situation and will take a light frost (Hardy to -5°C) if it is in dry soil. USDA zones 9A – 11.
Uses: Container, rock garden.
Propagation: Seed in spring or (or rarely) cuttings. It is easily propagated by seed.
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