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Origin and Habitat: Uitenhage district, Cape Province, South Africa. The plant is only known at the two localities (separated by about 2 km).
Habitat and ecology: Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides is a cremnophilous species that usually grows in fully exposed situations on small slopes made up of loose broken stones of conglomerate origin and pebbles dislodged from the surrounding conglomerate cliffs. The surrounding vegetation consisted of 'transitional fynbos' elements such as Dodonaea viscosa, Asparagus sp., Elytropappus rhinocerotis and occasional Restionaceae. Upwards of twenty specimens were counted at the one spot and only a few grew in grass tufts, the majority occurring in or partially in the open.
- Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides (L.C.Leach) Bruyns
Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides (L.C.Leach) Bruyns
Bradleya 2: 18 1984
- Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides (L.C.Leach) Bruyns
Huernia longii Pillans
J. S. African Bot. 5: 65 1939
Description: Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides, was firstly described as H. pillansii subsp. echidnopsoides by L.C.Leach in 1968 who stated that “the flowers of his new subspecies 'appear to be identical' to those of Huernia pillansii. However, in his review of some huernias (Leach, 1976) the corolla lobes are given as being more than twice as long as broad and while those of H. longii subs. echidnopsoides as scarcely longer than broad, a situation that can hardly be described as identical.
Derivation of specific name: This member of the Asclepiadaceae family was given this name for Frank R. Long (1884–1961), English-born horticulturalist, emigrated to RSA and became Superintendent of Parks in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
Distinguishing characteristics: Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides is smaller than Huernia pillansii and has more slender stems with fewer teeth and smaller, spreading (not deflexed) teeth. The flowers are smaller with proportionately wider corolla lobes, shorter papillae and has quite different inner corona lobes.
Stems: Cylindrical 4-6 cm long, about 1 cm in diameter, sides deeply furrowed. The stems of both subsp. longii and of subsp. echidnopsoides are not much different in thickness though those of subsp. longii are often thinner than those of the other. Plants of both subsp. longii and subsp. echidnopsoides are stoloniferous at least to some extent. The rhizome-like runners of up to 3 m forming single stems at intervals and scattered stems are connected by their underground parts (rarely forming clumps). This is, in all likelihood, an adaptation to steep situations where soil erosion is constantly occurring. Tubercles 1-2 mm long, arranged densely in 6-10 vertical or spiral Ribs. In complete contrast Huernia pillansii is never stoloniferous. Furthermore, the 14-24 angled young shoots stems of H. pillansii bear soft bristles 5-8 mm long on each tubercle. This bristle is less than 3 mm long in H. longii and their stems consequently have a tessellate appearance lacking in the other.
Leaves: Rudimentary pointed, spreading or curved, eventually drying.
Inflorescences: Peduncle 5-7 mm; Pedicel 4-7 mm.
Flowers: The flowers are starry 2-3(-3.5) cm in diameter with lobes just slightly longer than broad at their base. Sepals 5-7 mm long. Corolla inside (pale) yellowish, labyrinth-like markings composed of small red to brown spots. Corolla tube 9 x 9 mm, bell-shaped, basally glabrous. Corolla lobes diverging, revolute, inside densely papillose, papillae narrowly cylindrical, blunt, rarely very slightly clavate, often tipped with bristles. Hairs irregularly marked red, about 1 mm long, delicate. Outer-corona lobes fused into a round crenate disc, or free and quadrangular, blunt, variably toothed or bifid; Inner-corona lobes erect, ribbon-like, tips swollen, thick and meeting each other (subsp. echidnopsoides) or thin and more or less diverging (subsp. longii), stiffly warty, basally with a prominent hump. Pollinia yellow to greenish-brown. The only significant point of similarity between H. longii subsp. echidnopsoides and H. pillansii is in the shape and orientation of the inner corona lobes. It is therefore clear that the isolated similarity of the inner coronas of these two taxa must be relegated to second place no as to put them closer together taxonomically.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Huernia longii group
- Huernia longii Pillans: (subsp. longii) Inner-corona lobes, ribbon-like, thin, tips swollen, diverging or meeting each other. Distribution: Eastern end of the Baviaanskloof, Cape Province, South Africa.
- Huernia longii subs. echidnopsoides (L.C.Leach) Bruyns: Inner-corona lobes erect, ribbon-like, thick, tips swollen, meeting each other. Distribution: Uitenhage district, Cape Province, South Africa.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) P.V. Bruyns “A new combination Huernia longii subsp. echidnopsoides” Bradleya: yearbook of the British Cactus and Succulent Society, volume 2, 1984
2) COWLING, R. M. (1982). “Patterns of plant endemism in the south-eastern Cape.” The Naturalist 27: 17-20.
3) GIBBS RUSSEL, G. E. & ROBINSON. E. R. (1981). “Phytogeography and speciation in the vegetation of the eastern Cape”. Bothalia 13: 467-472.
4) LEACH, L C. (1968). “Two new Stapeliads from the Cape Province”. J. S. Afr. Bot. 34: 135-142.
5) LEACH, L C. (1976). “A Preliminary Review of the prominently papillose Huemia species (Asclepiadaceae)”. J. S. Afr. Bot. 42: 439-487.
6) LEACH, L C. (1978). “Excelsa Taxonomic Series” No. 1. Salisbury, Zimbabwe.
7) PILLANS, N. S. (1939). “Huernia longii Pillans” in Plantae Novae Africanae. J. S. Afr. Bot. 5: 65-66.
8) WHITE, A. & SLOANE, B. L. (1937). “The Stapelieae” 3: 957-958. Pasadena, California.
9) Focke Albers, Ulrich Mev “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Asclepiadaceae” Springer Science & Business Media, 06 December 2012
10) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01 June 2000
11) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer Science & Business Media, 29 June 2013
Cultivation and Propagation: Spring: When winter ends and they begin to grow again, they will require much water and soaking the pots will no longer put the plants at risk for rot. In the spring they will grow well in partial shade and leaving them out in the rain may provide them with the water they need.
Summer: In the summer months they will tolerate heavy rain, but will be just as happy if the season is dry. It's best to sort out the stems while the plants are resting in the summer before they begin their autumnal growth cycle. They will tolerate very hot weather outdoors as long as they are kept in filtered light and this will encourage them to flower in the Autumn. They also enjoy some fertiliser. Moving the plants as they are developing buds may cause them to spontaneously abort the flowers all together.
Autumn: In the fall keep them outdoors until the night time temperatures drop below the 5°C.
Winter: Winter care presents no problems at 5°-10° C with plenty of light. As soon as they are flowered be sure to take extra precautions to keep them dry, because damp cool conditions when the plants are resting is an invitation to fungal infections, but - according to temperatures –some occasional lit watering may be useful.
Potting medium: Since roots are quite shallow, use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or pumice to regular soil potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining compost is suitable, and clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering. Re-pot every 2 years.
Pest and diseases: Huernia are generally fairly easy to grow, especially if kept pest-free. They are very susceptible to stem and root mealy bugs, and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack. Any time when there is a dead or dying stem in the pot it is important to remove it immediately and completely before other healthy stems can become ill too, isolate the healthy parts, dry them off, and re-root them in new compost.
Propagation: Easiest with stem cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry a day before planting. Stems must be laid (Not buried) on gritty compost and will then root from the underside of the stems. It can also be increased from seeds sowing in spring in moist, sandy peat moss. Barely cover seeds. Seeds germinate quickly.
In any season it's best to lay the stems out for several days before replanting them and then pot them only in dry soil and with hold any water until they begin to shrivel or start growing again.
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