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Origin and Habitat: This Bergeranthus vespertinus is widespread along a belt from Graaff Reinet to Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, where it occurs chiefly on the southern part of Cape Province from Uitenhage to Albany.
Habitat and ecology: These tufted plants grows under shrubs or in the open in crevices and is not in danger of extinction.
- Bergeranthus vespertinus (A.Berger) Schwantes
Bergeranthus vespertinus (A.Berger) Schwantes
Z. Sukkulentenk. 2: 180 1926
- Bergeranthus vespertinus (A.Berger) Schwantes
- Bergeranthus jamesii L. Bolus
- Bergeranthus longisepalus L. Bolus
Description: Bergeranthus vespertinus is a tufted perennial ice plant relative that has small, finely tapered leaves crowded into rosettes, with a grey-green surface with some darker dots, and rather wrinkled. The flowers are yellow up to 5 cm across and are borne, 2-5 in succession, on a long branching flower stalks. Bergeranthus vespertinus is the best-known species in cultivation.
Derivation of specific name: Latin “vespertinus”, belonging to the evening; for the flowers, opening in the afternoon and closing in the evening.
Habit: It is an almost stemless, compact, succulents with dense leafy shoots, that spread by means of offshoots with intemodes not visible, it forms flat, compact, mats that grow to about 6 cm high with a spread of 30 cm.
Leaves: Erect at first, later more or less prostrate, shortly fused at base, narrowly acuminate, triangular in section, upper surface flat, slightly wrinkled, greyish-green with some darker translucent dots and a dense cover of wax consisting of fine platelets with sharp edges petering out in threads occasionally. Lower surface semi-cylindric at base, keeled towards tip. In their normal, natural state each leaf is only 10-30 mm long, but in cultivation they can get up to 6o mm long, 2.5-6 mm broad and 3-4 mm thick.
Flowers: 3-5 together in cymes, yellow, stalks 2-3 cm, petals in several rows, linear to narrowly lanceolate 6-11 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide. Stamens numerous, erect.
Blooming season: Summer. Flowers are produced in succession for months.
Fruit (capsules): 5-celled, closing body a broad protrusion reaching under the covering membranes which possess a closing ledge and a low distal rim, 6-7 mm in diameter.
Related species: The plants appear most similar to those of Bergeranthus longisepalus from nearer the coast, differing from the latter in the bigger, more extensive, flat closing body mainly. Bergeranthus vespertinus is also somewhat similar in habit to Bergeranthus scapiger, that has longer dark green leaves (7-15 cm long) with golden-yellow flowers reddish on the outside, and the smaller Bergeranthus multiceps.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Heidrun E.K. Hartmann “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae A-E” Springer, 2002
2) S. H. Scott “The Observer's Book of Cacti and Other Succulents” F. Warne, 1958
3) Gustav Schwantes “Flowering Stones and Mid-day Flowers: A Book for Plant and Nature Lovers on the Mesembryanthemaceae” Ernest Benn, 1957
4) Burgoyne, P.M. 2006. "Bergeranthus vespertinus (A.Berger) Schwantes." National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/11/14
5) Vera Higgins “Succulents in Cultivation (Cacti Included)” St. Martin's Press, 1960
6) Jacobsen “A handbook of succulent plants.” page 999, 1960.
7) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer Science & Business Media, 29 June 2013
8) Stuart Max Walters “European Garden Flora: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 27 lug 1989
Cultivation and Propagation: Bergeranthus are easy, enormously cold hardy and rewarding plants than can be grown in pots or in the rock-garden. They can be watered year-round, water regularly from spring to Autumn but reduce watering frequency in winter, growth period is early Spring to late Summer, but is a very adaptable species that can grows opportunistically whenever the water availability and growing condition are favourable. Keep them cool, and half-shaded in summer, need full sun or light shade on the other seasons. Potted Bergeranthus look best in a heavy soil and the same is true for plants in a rockery. Requires good drainage.
Frost Tolerance: Very frost hardy and grows best where there are cold winters (it is reported to be hardy to at least -12° C if very dry). It is difficult to keep the leaves free of scars and dead leaf-tips, but the abundant flowers hide them.
Propagation: They are very easy to propagate from cuttings or (rarely) seeds.
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