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The leaves are closely joined and surround the stem for most of their length, spreading at the tips, the free tips tapered to a short point and with 1 or 2 teeth on the keel.
Origin and Habitat: This plant comes from the Great Karoo and Vanrhynsdorp in the Western Cape in South Africa north in Namibia.
Habitat and ecology: Ruschia uncinata grows in the winter rainfall areas of northwestern South Africa and southern Namibia on dry soils, with numerous stones and small pebbles that appears to consist primarily of decomposed rock.
Ruschia uncinata (L.) Schwantes
Z. Sukkulentenk. ii. 187 (1926)
- Ruschia uncinata (L.) Schwantes
- Ruschia uncinella (Haw.) Schwantes
ENGLISH: small-hooked Fig marvgold
AFRIKAANS (Afrikaans): Doringvygie
Description: Ruschia uncinata (Doringvygie) has been long in cultivation. It is a somewhat tangled looking winter growing mat forming succulent to 30 cm tall and spreading several metres wide. It has cylindrical stems with interesting short, pointed, grey-green leaves with few teeth on keel. In spring it produces 12 mm wide pinkish purple flowers that have petals that radiate outwards along the edge but are erect in the middle of the flower, surrounding the reproductive parts, in what is often described as a crown. The very similar looking Smicrostigma viride seems to not have the crown in the middle of the flower.
Stem: Long, cylindrical, woody, hidden by the leaf-sheaths that get maybe a 30 tall before they bend over, then prostrate and bearing branches and shoots on 1 side only.
Leaves: Opposite, succulent, that alternate 90 degrees from one set to the next ever 12-25 mm, grey-green with darker dots, to 4-8 mm long, 3-angled to round in section, closely joined and surrounding the stem for most of their length, spreading at the tips, the free tips tapered to a short point and with 1 or 2 teeth on the keel; sheath long enclosing the branch.
Flowers: Terminal on short shoots, solitary, 12-20 mm across, rose to purple with white stamens and sweet-smelly.
Blooming season. Ruschia uncinata flowers during the heat of the day throughout the year.
The genus Ruschia is widespread in South Africa, and many species have been moved into the genus Antimima, but not this one.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) G. Germishuizin N.L. Meyer, “Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist Pretoria.” 2003
2) Heidrun E.K. Hartmann “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae F-Z” Springer Science & Business Media, 2002
3) African Plants Database (version 3.4.0). Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, "Retrieved 3 December 2015", from <http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/>.
4) San Marcos Growers "Ruschia uncinata - Doringvygie" <http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=3890>. Web. 04 December 2015
5) Vera Higgins “Succulents in Cultivation (Cacti Included)” St. Martin's Press, 1960
6) 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
7) Wilfred Edward Shewell-Cooper “Alpine & rock gardening” Seeley Service, 1961
8) Vera Higgins “Succulent Plants Illustrated” Blandford Press, 1949
9) Burgoyne, P.M. 2006. Ruschia uncinata (L.) Schwantes. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/12/04
10) Jerome G. Rozen, Jr. "Biology and Immature Stages of the Aberrant Bee Genus Meliturgula (Hymenoptera, Andrenidae)" American Museum Novitates 2331: July 1968
11) Van Jaarsveld, E.J. “Wonderful waterwise gardening.” Tafelberg 2000.
12) Van Jaarsveld, E.J., Van Wyk B-E. & Smith G. “Succulents of South Africa, a guide to the regional diversity.” Tafelberg. 2000.
13) Smith, G.F.; Chesselet, P., Van Jaarsveld, E. J., Hartmann, H., Hammer, S., Van Wyk, B-E.; Burgoyne, P., Klak, C. and Kurzweil, H. “Mesembs of the world.” Briza.1998.
14) Van Jaarsveld, E.J. & Pienaar. U. de Villiers Pienaar. “Vygies, gems of the veld.” Cactus & Co. 2000.
Cultivation and Propagation: This plant makes an excellent ground cover spreading by forming roots at any nodes touching the ground. These are very hardy floriferous plants often seen in rockeries. The plants in this genus represent some of the more easily cultivated succulent species. In particular Ruschia uncinata by far the toughest species, makes an excellent ground cover spreading by forming roots at any nodes touching the ground, and seems to be one of the 'Ice plant' which is reasonably hardy and successful in temperate climates. It is tolerant of wet and cold, but it will suffer under prolonged water stagnation, and thus prefers well drained soils, or even rocky terrain. Glossy bright green leaves. Pink/purple to white sweet-smelly daisy-like flowers that will shoot from the tips throughout the year.
Growth rate: It grows fast, needs to be contained or it becomes invasive, and also like to self seed everywhere. If not checked it could take over entire areas of garden, and even escape into the wild.
Soil: It prefers deep, well-drained, lean, sandy, or rocky soils.
Fertilization: Fertilize once early in the growing season with a light sprinkling of all-purpose fertilizer.
Watering: Water moderately from early spring to the end of autumn, and keep the compost quite dry when the plants are dormant watering, only if the plant starts shrivelling (, but they will generally grow even in winter if given water). Disliking overly wet conditions, it is best to also cover it with an anchored sheet of plastic during the winter if climate is particularly wet and cold. During wet seasons allow air circulation.
Exposure: Provide maximum light all the year round.
Hardiness: It is tolerant of both heat and cold and is hardy from zones 7 through 10(-11). In areas prone to very intense frosts, grow in an intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of cactus compost, obtainable from good garden centres. It may be killed in a very severe winter.
Salt tolerance: High
Uses: It is an easy-to-grow groundcover, ideal for low-maintenance and water-wise gardens, dry rocky free-draining ground and slopes where it is an ideal planting combination with other larger more architectural succulents like Aloe, Agave or Yucca. For groundcover effect, place plants about 30 cm apart. Butterflies are attracted to the blossoms.
Propagation: Cuttings. It is easily started by cuttings. Individual pieces of plants sprinkled on a prepared surface will root in a matter a few days.
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