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Origin and Habitat: South Africa. Eastern and Southern Western part Cape province (from Mossel Bay in the east to Cape south of the Riviersonderend and Langeberg Mountains).
Altitude: From close to sea level up to approximately 300 m in altitude above sea level.
Habitat: Hilly terrain, river valley and vertical rock ledges, on shale and sandstone outcrops and occasionally Limestone in dry open fynbos vegetation. Gasteria carinataSN|17224]] proliferates from stolons from the base of the stem and forms small, well camouflaged, groups among herbs and scattered taller shrubs, often in shade of Carissa bispinosa or occasionally in the open and difficult to locate.
Rainfall: 300–500 mm per annum. Rain occurs in winter and summer but with a tendency to summer dryness.
Temperatures: Summers are hot, with cool nights. Winters are moderate with occasional light frost.
Gasteria carinata (Mill.) Duval
Pl. Succ. Horto Alencon. . 6 1809.
- Gasteria carinata (Mill.) Duval
- Aloe carinata var. laevior Salm-Dyck
- Aloe carinata var. subglabra Haw.
- Aloe lingua var. multifaria Haw.
- Aloe linguiformis DC.
- Aloe obscura var. truncata Salm-Dyck
- Aloe pseudoangulata Salm-Dyck
- Aloe pusilla Schult. & Schult.f.
- Aloe tristicha Medik.
- Gasteria angulata (Haw.) Duval
- Aloe angulata Willd.
- Aloe lingua var. angulata Haw.
- Gasteria angulata (Willd.) Haw.
- Gasteria disticha var. angulata (Willd.) Baker
- Gasteria angulata var. truncata (Willd.) A.Berger
- Aloe angulata var. truncata Willd.
- Gasteria bijliae Poelln.
- Gasteria carinata var. falcata A.Berger
- Gasteria carinata var. latifolia A.Berger
- Gasteria carinata var. parva (Haw.) Baker
- Gasteria parva Haw.
- Gasteria carinata var. strigata (Haw.) Baker
- Gasteria strigata Haw.
- Gasteria carinata f. variegata hort.
- Gasteria excavata (Willd.) Haw.
- Aloe excavata Willd.
- Gasteria laetepunctata Haw.
- Aloe laetepunctata (Haw.) Schult. & Schult.f.
- Gasteria laevis (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe laevis Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria pallescens Baker
- Gasteria parvifolia Baker
- Gasteria porphyrophylla Baker
- Gasteria subcarinata (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe subcarinata Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria sulcata (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe sulcata Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria trigona var. kewensis A.Berger
- Gasteria undata Haw.
- Aloe undata Schult. & Schult.f.
Gasteria carinata var. glabra (Salm-Dyck) van Jaarsv.
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 70: 70 1998
- Gasteria carinata var. glabra (Salm-Dyck) van Jaarsv.
- Aloe glabra (Haw.) Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria carinata f. glabra (Salm-Dyck) van Jaarsv.
- Gasteria glabra Haw.
- Gasteria carinata var. schweickerdtiana (Poelln.) hort.
- Gasteria schweickerdtiana Poelln.
- Gasteria patentissima Poelln.
Gasteria carinata var. retusa van Jaarsv.
Aloe 29: 15 1992.
Gasteria carinata var. thunbergii (N.E.Br.) van Jaarsv.
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 70: 70 1998.
- Gasteria carinata var. thunbergii (N.E.Br.) van Jaarsv.
Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa (Mill.) van Jaarsv.
Aloe 29(1): 15 (1992)
- Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa (Mill.) van Jaarsv.
- Aloe acuminata Lamarck
- Aloe carinata DC.
- Aloe racemosa Lamarck
- Aloe verrucosa Mill.
- Aloe verrucula Medik.
- Gasteria verrucosa (Mill.) Duval
- Gasteria intermedia var. laevior Haw.
- Gasteria intermedia var. longior Haw.
- Gasteria radulosa Baker
- Gasteria repens Haw.
- Aloe repens Schult. & Schult.f.
- Gasteria subverrucosa (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe subverrucosa Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria subverrucosa var. grandipunctata (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe subverrucosa var. grandipunctata Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria subverrucosa var. marginata Baker
- Gasteria subverrucosa var. parvipunctata (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe subverrucosa var. parvipunctata Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria verrucosa var. asperrima (Salm-Dyck) Poelln.
- Gasteria verrucosa var. intermedia (Haw.) Baker
- Gasteria verrucosa var. latifolia (Salm-Dyck) Haw.
- Aloe verrucosa var. latifolia Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria verrucosa var. scaberrima (Salm-Dyck) Baker
- Aloe scaberrima Salm-Dyck
- Gasteria verrucosa var. striata (Salm-Dyck) Poelln.
- Aloe verrucosa var. striata Salm-Dyck
ENGLISH: Keeled ox-tongue
AFRIKAANS (Afrikaans): Bredasdorp-beestong
Description: Gasteria nitidaSN|17224]] is a small to medium-sized decumbent to erect aloe-like succulent. It offsetts freely from the base and soon forms a dense cluster with dull green speckled leaves and racemes of pinkish flowers during spring. Dimension of the clumps 3 to 18 cm tall and 15 to 80 cm wide. It is an extremely variable species. Nowhere in the genus Gasteria is variability illustrated more clearly than in this species. The different clones vary in leaf size, shape, marking, texture, growth habit and some forms have undulating leaves. The var. carinata distinguish from the other varieties and forms for the leaves in a rosette and with a tuberculate surface. This variety is the most common and is confined to the western and southern portion of the distribution area of the species.
Roots: Succulent, up to 6 mm in diameter.
Rosettes: Distichous in a basal fan at first, becoming rosulate and decidedly twisted with 4-8 (or more) leaves, erect or spreading. Sometimes remaining distichous even in adulthood.
Leaves: 3-15 cm long, 1-5 cm wide at the base, fleshy, triangular-lanceolate, rarely tongue-shaped, narrowed to a stiff hard point, rarely obtuse, rounded , truncate, retuse, or mucronate. Sheets plane or concave above, with a distinct keel or sometimes rounded below, both faces dull green, tuberculate or smooth, rarely like sandpaper, spotted with raised or white domed tubercles scattered or coalescent into transverse rows. Margin cartilaginous, leathery, bearing small inconspicuous rounded teeth, rarely denticulate.
Juvenile leaves distichous erectl or spreading, tuberculate or smooth, tongue-shaped (lorate), the tip rounded or ending in a hard sharp point (mucronate).
Inflorescence: Raceme, 15-90 cm, unbranched or occasionally with a pair of side branches. The floral bracts 6–12 mm long, 2,4 mm broad at the base.
Flowers 2,5-4 cm long like the usual of this genus, pedicel 7–15 mm long, perianth 16-27 mm long, gasteriform part pink swollen at the base by more than half of the flower length, narrowly ellipsoid to rarely globose-ellipsoid, above constricted into a tube 3-5 mm in diameter. Segments tips light pink to white with central green stripes: Stamens oblong, included. Ovary 6-7 mm long, 2,5 mm in diameter. Style 14 mm.
Blooming season: Winter to late Spring (July to November in the southern hemisphere) but with a peak in spring.
Fruit capsules: 19-23 mm long and 7 mm broad.
Seed: Oblong, 3-4 mm in broad, 2 mm thick.
Remarks: Gasteria carinataSN|17224]] is related to Gasteria carinataSN|1476]] which has bright orange-pink flowers blooming during summer.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Gasteria carinata group
- Gasteria carinata (Mill.) Duval: (var. carinata) has a rosette habit of growth with a tuberculate leaves surface. This variety is the most common. Distribution: Western and southern portion of the range.
- Gasteria carinata var. glabra (Salm-Dyck) van Jaarsv.: has smooth leaves. Distribution: Eastern portion of the distribution area of the species.
- Gasteria carinata var. retusa van Jaarsv.
- Gasteria carinata var. schweickerdtiana (Poelln.) hort.: Has has pale smooth leaves which are ditichous in young rosettes, very similar if not the same as: Gasteria carinata var. glabra.
- Gasteria carinata var. thunbergii (N.E.Br.) van Jaarsv.
- Gasteria carinata f. variegata hort.: (variegated form) has dark-green leaves stripped logitudinally with yellow.
- Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa (Mill.) van Jaarsv.: has has a distichous habit of growth with dark grey-green leaves with a densely tuberculate surface.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 1994. "Gasterias of South Africa" Fernwood Press.
2) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer, 2001
3) W. Engelmann. “Das Pflanzenreich” 33: 50 1908
4) “Flowering plants of South Africa: A Magazine Containing Hand-coloured Figures with Descriptions of the Flowering Plants Indigenous to South Africa. London, Johannesburg and Cape Town” 8: pl. 291 (1928)
5) Stuart Max Walters “The European Garden Flora: Pteridophyta, Gymbospermae, Angiospermae-Monocotyledons” Cambridge University Press, 1984
6) Mucina, L. & Rutherford, M.C. (eds) 2006. “The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.” Strelitzia 19. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
7) Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 2007. "The genus Gasteria, a synoptic review." Aloe 44: 4: 84–103.
Cultivation and Propagation: Cultivation and Propagation: It is of easy culture and can grow on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where it is happy to share its habitat with other smaller succulent plants, or in outdoor rockeries.
Growth rate: It is a relatively slow-growing plant that offsets to form in age small clusters.
Soil: It is tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefers a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. You can grow a plant in a 10-15 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. For best results, use a shallow pot.
Exposure: Need light shade to shade, but will take full sun part of the day. (with some sun exposure the leaf develops a nice reddish tint and remain compact)
Watering: During the hot summer months, the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Wet soil quickly causes root and stem rot, especially during chilly winter months. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Low ambient humidity is always needed.
Feeding: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength. Plants react well also to organic feeding (compost or any other liquid fertilizer).
Hardiness: During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Frost hardy to -1°C (Or less). It grows well in Mediterranean gardens where frost is not too severe.
Pest and diseases: Rot is only a minor problem with Gasteria if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. Incorrect watering, poor drainage or too much shade can lead to attack by pests and diseases. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.
Remarks: Gasterias are best planted in a partially shaded and airy part of the greenhouse, and not too close to the glass roof or sides of the house as the plants can overheat during hot spells.
Propagation: Gasterias are easily propagated by the removal of offshoots or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. To propagate by leaf cuttings, remove a leaf (best in spring) and let it lie for about one month, giving the wound time to heal. Then lay the leaf on its side with the basal part buried in the soil. This leaf should root within a month or two, and small plants will form at the leaf base. Cuttings are best rooted in clean sand. Once rooted, plants can be planted into individual containers. They can also grown from seed. Sow seed during spring or summer in a warm, shady position in a sandy, slightly acidic soil and keep moist. Cover with a thin layer of sand and keep moist. Germination is usually within 20 days. Seedlings grow slowly and are best planted out about a year after sowing. It is recommended to apply a fungicide when growing it from seed.
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