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Ecotype from Klein Doringrivier, Western Cape, South Africa, located between Skraapklipkop and Kraaiberg.good tapered leaf shape (MG 1522.4634).
Origin and Habitat: Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn Districts, Western Cape,South Africa. Extent of occurence 300 km² (10 known locations).
Altitude range: 270-650 meters above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: Succulent Karoo, ecotones between spekboomveld and apronveld. Glottiphyllum linguiforme grows on clayey to sandy soil with some quartzite pebbles, under bushes. 100-200 mm rainfall p.a. mainly in March and November. This species is threatened by ongoing grazing, trampling and soil erosion as a result of Ostrich farming.
Glottiphyllum linguiforme (L.) N.E.Br.
Gard. Chron. III, 70: 327 1921
- Glottiphyllum linguiforme (L.) N.E.Br.
- Glottiphyllum cilliersiae Schwantes
- Glottiphyllum latifolium N.E.Br.
- Glottiphyllum ryderae Schwantes
- Mesembryanthemum linguiforme var. scalpratum (Haw.) A.Berger
ENGLISH: Tongue plant
AFRIKAANS (Afrikaans): Tongblaarvygie
Description: The curious "tongue plant" botanically known as Glottiphyllum linguiforme is a nearly stemless, compact, perennial succulent that grows to about 6 cm high with a spread of 30 cm. It has 2 rows of incurved, strap-shaped, grey-green leaves with rounded tips slightly bent outward, and bears daisy-like bright yellow flowers. Glottiphyllum linguiforme is among the best-known species, however, can seldom be found as a pure species; most plants grown under this name may be hybrids. The specific name ''linguiforme'' means ''tongue-shaped'' remembering us that its leaves resembles green tongues.
Stems (branches): Few (mostly 3), very short and decumbent, internodes not visible.
Leaves: Distichous, soft, fleshy, subequal in length, obtuse, patent, ascending or erect, very broad, rather flat, oval, narrowing to the base, 5-6 (but occasionally up to 10) cm long, 3-5 cm wide, one of the margins thicker, bright green, without dots, wax cover of small platelets dense and thick, greyish, often pinkish suffused. Leaves of seedlings decussate, acutely pointed. Given a very bright position, the leaves are grey-green with red and purple.
Flowers: Sessile or shortly stalked, daisy-like bright yellow 5-7 cm in diameter, often fragrant. Calyx obconical, compressed. Petals uniseriate, broadly-linear, emarginate. Stigma lobes 10–11.
Fruits: Tumble fruit, top high, valves thick, rims low, base woody rather than spongy, locules 8(-9).
Seeds: 1.4-1.5 mm long, 1.05-1.2 mm wide, papillate, papillae with dimorphic rodlets.
Similar species: Glottiphyllum linguiforme is similar to Glottiphyllum carnosum and Glottiphyllum suave in the oval leaf shapes and the thick wax cover of tiny platelets, but distinguished from both by mostly larger, flat leaves with smooth margins. Differing from G. suave in its bigger seeds, and from G. carnosum by its higher locule number.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Glottiphyllum linguiforme group
- Glottiphyllum latifolium N.E.Br.: has 2-3 pairs of leaves that are not keeled and do not shows any bubble swelling at the base. Distribution: Ladismith-Distr. Western Cape, South Africa.
- Glottiphyllum linguiforme (L.) N.E.Br.: has 2 rows of incurved, strap-shaped, grey-green leaves with rounded tips slightly bent outward. Distribution: Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn Districts, Western Cape,South Africa.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures:
1) Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. “Plants of the Klein Karoo.” Umdaus Press, Hatfield. 2010
2) Vlok, J.H. & Raimondo, D. “Glottiphyllum linguiforme (L.) N.E.Br.” National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2014.1. Accessed on 2015/05/21 2007
3) 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
4) Werner Rauh “The Wonderful World of Succulents:Cultivation and Description of Selected Succulent Plants Other Than Cacti” Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984
5) Hermann Jacobsen “A handbook of succulent plants: descriptions, synonyms, and cultural details for succulents other than Cactaceae, Volume 1” Blandford Press, 1960
6) Edgar Lamb, Brian Lamb “The Illustrated Reference on Cacti & Other Succulents” Volume 5 Blandford Press, 1978
- Ecotype from Klein Doringrivier, Western Cape, South Africa, located between Skraapklipkop and Kraaiberg. Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
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Cultivation and Propagation: The plants in this genus represent some of the more easily cultivated succulent species. Their main growth period is in late winter and were heading for spring-summer dormancy, but they do best with at least a little water all year. Requires little water otherwise their epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water moderately from the middle of summer to the end of winter, and keep the compost almost dry when the plants are dormant. Water minimally in spring and summer, only when the plant starts shrivelling, but they will generally grow even in summer if given water. In areas prone to frost, grow in an intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of cactus compost, obtainable from good garden centres. Keep cool and shaded in summer, but provide maximum light the rest of the year. Remember that a sunny locality is best, otherwise they will not flower properly. However there are two ways to grow glottiphyllums: The first is to let nature take her course, which means giving them large pots and copious water; they will burgeon into enormous masses of glistening green leaves. The other is to starve them into svelteness by hot summer droughts, small pots, and firm loam. The results can be very attractive. In any case it is best to treat them as late winter growers. Soft leaves mean easy to damage. May be susceptible to mealybugs.
Propagation: Seeds or cuttings. Seeds germinate very easily and can be sown in early to mid-spring, but can be sown at most times of the year (Avoid very hot weather in summer) and germinated in heated humid environment. Do not sow the seeds too deep. If sown too deep, they will be smothered and probably not germinate. Under ideal conditions, seedlings will grow rapidly. Plant the seedlings out when they are 3–5 cm in height.
Alternatively, use stem cuttings taken towards the end of summer in an heated propagating case (15-21°C) Cuttings root easily and remain true to the species, while seeds tend to hybridize.
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