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Origin and Habitat: North-East Tanzania (Arusha, Kilimanjaro). It was first discovered by the botanist P. R. O. Bally at foothills of Longido Mountain in 1939.
Altitude range: ca. 1500-1800 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: Huernia tanganyikensis forms mats on gneiss rocks.
Description: Huernia tanganyikensis is a finely toothed plant with shoots, sometimes a meter long and indistinctly pentagonal, sprawling along the ground. The inflorescences have many flowers 2 to 2.5 cm across; their annulus is raised, glabrous or with short hairs, dark wine red and shiny. The pale flesh-colored corolla lobes are completely glabrous. Unlike most species in the genus Huernia tanganyikensis has a simple corolla (lacks lobules in the sinus). This species was first described by Bruce and Bally as Duvalia tanganyikensis, with Larry Leach transferring it to Huernia.
Derivation of specific name: tanganyikensis For the occurrence in the former Tanganyika (now Tanzania).
Stems: Creeping. poorly branching, cylindrical, forming dense mats, 20-50(-85) long, 1-1.8 cm in diameter, obtusely 5-angular. Tubercles 1-2 cm long, acute devoid of denticles.
Inflorescences: Few-flowered, pointing upwards with a partly persistent peduncle, curved when elongate, knobby.
Flowers: Pedicels 5 2 cm long. Sepals1.2 cm long. Corolla 3-3.5 cm across, outside greenish-creamy, inside pink, shallow, annulus bright dark maroon, about 1 cm in diameter. Prominent. Corolla-lobes 12 mm long, 8 mm wide, triangular, acuminate, smooth, glabrous, neither replicate or ciliate. intermediate lobes lacking or very delicate. Corona 3 mm in diameter, sessile. Outer corona 3.5 mm in diameter, lobes fused into a thickended almost circular or obtusely pentagonal disc. Inner-corona yellow, lobes more or less acute or forked, about as long as the anthers, dorsal hump 1 - 2 mm long, 0.75 mm wide, ovate, obtuse, more or less erect.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Ulrich Meve “The Genus Duvalia (Stapelieae): Stem-Succulents between the Cape and Arabia” Springer Science & Business Media, 06 dic 2012
2) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer Science & Business Media, 29 June 2013
3) Focke Albers, Ulrich Meve “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Asclepiadaceae: Asclepiadaceae” Volume 4 Springer, 2002
4) Werner Rauh “The Wonderful World of Succulents: Cultivation and Description of Selected Succulent Plants Other Than Cacti” Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984
5) L. C. Leach “Stapelieae from South Tropical Africa, V” Bothalia 10, I ; 45-54
Cultivation and Propagation: Huernia tanganyikensis is an easily grown stapeliad, suited to hanging baskets as well as pots, however, it takes up a lot of room because of its creeping growth-form. It grow well in light gritty soil with a very liberal drainage. They should at all times sparingly watered (best rain water with some occasional fertiliser), and in winter time they hardly require any. They require outdoor culture, or a warm close greenhouse, while growing in the early part of summer, and afterwards may be ripened and kept in a greenhouse; but as they bloom chiefly in autumn, warmth is desirable to enable them to expand their flowers. They are also most attractive in a hanging pot with their trailing segments With numerous fleshy (non-hurtful) teeth. Some collectors enjoy the long, snake-like stems induced by an excess of water.
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 withhold any water until they begin to shrivel or start growing again.
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