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Origin and Habitat: Gasteria bicolor var. liliputana is common around the Kap River Mountains of Grahamstown and extends to the eastern Suurberg in the Alicedale district.
Habitat and ecology: This species occurs in the thickets occurring along the Grahamstown quartzitic sandstone mountain range. The plants grow in shallow soil in the shade of thorny thickets dominated by succulent plants. Its habitat is often rocky. Here the climate is dry and hot and frost is very light or absent. Rainfall is mainly during the warmer summer months ranging between 500-600 mm per annum and winters are dry but there are occasional cold fronts that bring ample rains in winter. Rainfall is variable, even in summer, and this gasteria is able to survive periods of drought.
Gasteria bicolor var. liliputana (Poelln.) van Jaarsv.
Aloe 29(1): 21 (1992)
Gasteria bicolor Haw.
Philos. Mag. Ann. Chem. (1826) 275.
- Gasteria bicolor Haw.
- Aloe bicolor (Haw.) Schult. & Schult.f.
- Aloe bowieana Salm-Dyck
- Aloe dictyodes Schult.f.
- Aloe lingua Ker Gawl.
- Gasteria biformis Poelln.
- Gasteria caespitosa Poelln.
- Gasteria chamaegigas Poelln.
- Gasteria colubrina N.E.Br.
- Gasteria herreana Poelln.
- Gasteria humilis Poelln.
- Gasteria kirsteana Poelln.
- Gasteria loeriensis Poelln.
- Gasteria longiana Poelln.
- Gasteria longibracteata Poelln.
- Gasteria maculata Haw.
- Aloe maculata Thunb.
- Gasteria maculata var. dregeana A.Berger in Engl.
- Gasteria marmorata Baker
- Gasteria multiplex Poelln.
- Gasteria obliqua (Haw.) Duval
- Gasteria picta
- Gasteria planifolia Baker
- Aloe planifolia Baker
- Gasteria retata Haw.
- Gasteria salmdyckiana Poelln.
- Gasteria spiralis Baker
- Gasteria spiralis var. tortulata Baker
- Gasteria variolosa Baker
- Gasteria zeyheri Baker
- Aloe zeyheri Salm-Dyck
Gasteria bicolor var. fallax (Haw.) van Jaarsv.
Aloe 44(4): 98. 2007
- Gasteria bicolor var. fallax (Haw.) van Jaarsv.
Description: Gasteria bicolor var. liliputana is a miniature mat-forming variety, perhaps the smallest variety in the entire Gasteria genus. Plants boast leaves with leaves in a rosette only a few cm long, each rosette reaching only about 25 mm in height. However intermediate forms between var. bicolor nor var. liliputana are also common in habitat and cultivation too. Gasteria bicolor var. liliputana proliferates from the base forming dense groups of up to ten or more individuals. Somewhat variable, but easily recognised, var. liliputana is widely cultivated by pot plant collectors.
Leaves: (1.5-)3-5(-10) cm long, and 8-14 mm broad, narrowly lorate (tongue-like), strap-shaped tapering, with a rounded or acute top, dark green, smooth, white spotted and glossy. The leaves of young plants are distichous (arranged in two opposite ranks) and look quite different to the adult leaves.
Inflorescence: The inflorescence is a simple, elongated raceme, much taller than the leaves, reaching 16-40 cm tall.
Flowers: Perianth 12-15 mm long, pendulous, tubular, and reddish pink in colour. They are rich in nectar and are pollinated by various sunbirds.
Blooming season: Flowers can be produced at any time of the year, but peak flowering time is in midwinter to spring.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Gasteria bicolor group/complex
This Taxon has lots of synonyms ( like many other Gasterias) whit several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics.
- Gasteria bicolor Haw.: Haw. It is small plant 7-25 cm tall, but can attain greater size in some population (up to 40-60 cm in height at Alicedale)
- Gasteria bicolor var. fallax (Haw.) van Jaarsv.: has narrow, elongated, linear, mottled leaves, 140 mm long, 11 mm wide. Distribution: Dense clumps are known from the Albany thickets near Swartwaterspoort.
- Gasteria bicolor var. liliputana (Poelln.) van Jaarsv.: This is a miniature clustering variety, plants boast leaves only 3-5 cm long! However intermediate forms between the two (neither var. bicolor nor var. liliputana) are also common around the environs of Grahamstown.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/June/2000
2) Wikipedia contributors. "Gasteria bicolor." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
3) “Gasteria bicolor var. liliputana (V.Poelln.) Van Jaarsv.” in: Plantzafrica <http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantefg/gasteriabicollil.htm> Web. 31 October 2016
4) Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 1994. “Gasterias of South Africa”. Fernwood Press, Cape Town.
5) Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 2007. “The genus Gasteria, a synoptic review”. Aloe 44: 4: 84–103.
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