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Origin and Habitat: South Africa,Western Cape (Waterval to Muiskraal in the northern Langeberg). Area of occurrence less than 20 km².
Habitat and Ecology: Gibbaeum angulipes grows in the Succulent Karoo on sandy loam with in white quartz patches, on flats and on north facing slopes, settlers on disturbed ground, when not interferred with. This species is threatened by habitat degradation, six known locations are potentially threatened by livestock and game trampling. The population trend is stable.
Description: Gibbaeum angulipes is a dwarf creeping succulent plant up to 4 cm tall forming huge mats of up to 2 m in diameter, with leaves in pairs, erect, nearly cylindrical, but one side flattened. Gibbaeums make attractive plants with their fascinating leaf forms and G. angulipes with longish spreading anisophyllous leaves (different in shape and size and looking like sharks head) should be no exception, particularly when the mauve flowers appear.
Derivation of specific name: Lat. 'angulus', angle, corner; and Lat. pes', foot; for the angled peduncles.
Stems: Procumbent or decumbent, with very numerous growths or short branchlets to 6 cm long crowded into a compact mass of a silvery or greyish colour, flowering branches erect, branches with 2-4 leaves.
Leaves: Erect to spreading, fused for с 6-8 mm at base, very unequal and usually 2-5 times as long as broad, with the free part of the larger leaf 23-26 mm long, and of the smaller leaf 8-20 mm long, 8-10 mm broad and 4-6 mm thick near the base, top flat, apically a little recurved, subterete or trigonous-subterete, apically moderately acuminate, the larger leaf being less convex on the face than the smaller one with a more pronounced hump overtopping the other, which was appressed when younger and has a lower or no hump at all, sometimes slightly keeled on the back at the apical part. Surface smooth, glaucous, velvety to the touch from being covered with a very minute, hoary, adpressed pubescence, the hairs pointing downwards, and brushed downwards in the lower part of the leaf, with occasional semi-globose tiny bulges. When at rest naturally the leaves are pressed together, but when growing they diverge from the base and more or less recurved.
Flowers: Solitary, terminal, with a new growth on each side of its base, developing flowers on all short side branches all over the plants. Pedicels 12-25 mm long, purplish, 25 mm diameter, slightly narrowing towards the base, angular and together with the calyx velvety-puberulous like the leaves. Calyx 6-(-7)-lobed . Lobes 5-6 mm long ovate, subacute or obtuse, keeled on the back, two of them with membranous margins. Corolla apparently about 16-25 mm in diameter. Petals numerous, pinkish-purple, free, in about 2 series, 6-12 mm long, cuneately linear, obtuse. Stamens numerous, erect, white; filaments hairy at the base. Stigmas 6(-7), connivent erect, subulate acute.
Blooming season: Spring (Oct. -Nov.)
Fruit (capsules): Six- or seven-chambered, base short funnel-shaped, top semi-globose, rims low, slightly fleshy. Fruit pedicels terete.
Chromosome number: 2n = 18.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Heidrun E. K. Hartmann “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae F-Z” Springer, 2002
2) Vlok, J.H. & Raimondo, D. 2006. Gibbaeum angulipes (L.Bolus) N.E.Br. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/12/15
3) Vlok, J. and Schutte-Vlok, A.L. “Plants of the Klein Karoo”. Umdaus Press, Hatfield. 2010.
4) Cactus and Succulent Society of Great Britain “Cactus and Succulent Journal of Great Britain”, Volumes 29-33 Cactus and Succulent Society of Great Britain, page 78, 1967
5) Pauline Bohnen “More flowering plants of the Southern Cape” Still Bay Conservation Trust, 1995
6) Gebrüder Borntræger “Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft”, Volume 58, 1940
7) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer Science & Business Media, 29 June 2013
8) Gustav Schwantes “Flowering Stones and Mid-day Flowers: A Book for Plant and Nature Lovers on the Mesembryanthemaceae” Ernest Benn, 1957
9) Peter Goldblatt “Cape Plants: A Conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa” National Botanical Institute of South Africa, 2000
10) “Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist” Haymarket Publishing, page 430, 1927
Cultivation and Propagation: Gibbaeums are "winter" grower which are most active from late winter until later spring and heading for summer dormancy, and notoriously difficult to grow because they rot very easily, but Gibbaeum angulipes, is among the easiest in cultivation, keeps going over the summer too and don’t need particular care.
Soil: It grows best in sandy-gritty soil and requires good drainage as 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: Feed it once during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (poor in nitrogen), including all micro nutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. It thrives in poor soils and need a limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases.
Watering: The Gibbaeums thrive in dry and desert regions and are able to stand extended periods of drought and require careful watering. Water minimally in summer, only when the plant starts shrivelling, water more abundantly when they are growing in the autumn and spring, but let the soil dry between soaking. Requires little water otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). If grown in a container, bottom watering by immersing the container is recommended. It must have very dry atmosphere.
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 require a minimum temperature 5°C (But will take a light frost and is hardy down to -7° C for short periods if it is in dry soil). USDA zones 9A – 11.
Uses: Container, rock garden.
Pests and diseases: It is vulnerable to mealybugs and rarely scale.
Propagation: Seed in autumn or (or rarely) cuttings. Take the cutting from a grown-up mother plant. Each cutting must contain one or more heads along with a fraction of root and permit to dry out a couple of days, lay it on the soil and insert the stem end partially into the soil. Try to keep the cutting somewhat upright so that the roots are able to grow downward. It is relatively difficult to root Gibbaeums from cuttings and generally pointless as well, so quick are they from seed.
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