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Accepted Scientific Name: Conophytum х marnierianum
Cactus (Paris) 51: 92 1956
Origin and Habitat: This is a natural hybrid coming from Namaqualand (South Africa) but most of the plants available have been obtained in cultivation by controlled pollination.
Habitat: Grows on quartz ridges in crevices in a well drained soil with some water in winter and some sun.
Description: Conophytum marnieriamnum (also spelled marnieranum) is a robust caespitose (groundcover) plant, stemless or with short stems with time. it is a natural hybrid involving Conophytum bilobum and Conophytum ectypum ssp. brownii (or vice-versa) The two species intermingle thoroughly in habitat producing a striking melange of hybrids. This hybrid plants was first collected by the beetle expert Charles Koch in 1948 and are among the best-loved natural hybrid in Aizoaceae.
Typically Conophytum ectypum ssp. brownii has big white-eyed pink or magenta (or rarely red) flowers while Conophytum bilobum has rich yellow blooms. The hybrids are morphologically variable either for the shape of the body and particularly for the mixed colours of the flowers that ranges from white to red, comprising a very popular and priced orange flowered form. Many of the plants in cultivation are not wild marnierianum clones with habitat provenance, but horticultural hybrids crossed, back-crossed and selected for their flowers colour.
Bodies (paired leaves): Thickness: 2 centimetres Height: 4 centimetres.
Profile: The leaf-tips (lobes) are more or less free and are 10 mm long and triangular in shape and keeled. Colours: The margins are green to red or deep purple in colour. The epidermis is whitish-green to glaucous to deep blue green or brownish pink in colour. The epidermis could be spotted or completey smooth.
Flowers: Large, often sweetly scented, white, white eyed pink, pink, yellow, orange, orange red, magenta.
Blooming season: The flowers are autumnal (rarely in summer) and diurnal.
Cultivation and Propagation: Conophytum marnieranum is easy to grow. These plants grow on winter rain and head for summer dormancy. They require little water; otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water minimally in summer, (only when the plant starts shrivelling), but it will generally grow even in summer if given water. Water regularly in winter after the previous year's leaves have dried up. Requires good drainage. Keep cool and shaded in summer, it needs full sun or light shade. Hardy to -2°C. Ensure a very good ventilation. Avoid to repot frequently. This plant may stay in the same pot for many years.
Propagation: It can be reproduced both by cuttings and seeds. Take the cutting from a grown-up mother plant. Each cutting must contain one or more heads along with a fraction of root.
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