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Origin and Habitat: Zambia, Eastern Africa; Southern Arabian Peninsula.
Altitude range: 1200–1750 metres above sea level.
Senecio mweroensis Baker
Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew (1895) 290. 290 1895
Senecio mweroensis subs. leptophyllus (C.Jeffrey) G.D.Rowley
Succ. Euphorb. 120 (1994)
Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus (P.Halliday) G.D.Rowley
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 62(6): 282. 1990
- Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus (P.Halliday) G.D.Rowley
- Kleinia saginata P.Halliday
- Senecio fulleri Trager
Senecio mweroensis f. schwartzii (L.E.Newton) G.D.Rowley
Bradleya 14: 83 (1996):. 83 1996
Description: Senecio mweroensis is a small succulent with red-orange florets, succulent leaves, and succulent stems with distinctive shape and markings.
Habit: It is a perennial, tuberous-rooted, succulents herb with glabrous, deciduous, jointed stem branching at or below ground-level, base sometimes swollen. It is quite variable.
Branches: 2-4 cm across, 7-15 cm or more tall, cylindrical, stout, terete, erect or decumbent, brittle, very plump, 1-4 cm in diameter, strongly jointed, low tuberculate, green or bronze-green longitudinally marked with 5-8 dark purple radiating arrowhead stripes.
Leaves: Variable, narrowly elliptic, flat to terete, (1-)4-6(-11) cm long, 0.2-3 cm broad, soft, thin, fleshy, ephemeral, dull green, sometimes flushed purple and glabrous, base attenuate and petioloid, margins entire, apex rounded with a short acumen.
Inflorescence (scapes): Terminal, single-flowered (rarely branched), 15-30 cm lng, pink-tinged and glabrous.
Flowes (Capitula): 1 to few. Involucre 15–23 mm long, 12–14 mm in diameter. Phyllaries (involucral bracts) 9 to 13(-20) 15–23 mm long. Ray flowers none. Disc flowers 30-50 or more, pink, orange or red, corolla 19–28 mm long, tube glabrous, slightly expanded in upper two-thirds, lobes 3.5–4 mm long.
Fruits: Fruit are cylindrical achenes 7 mm long, glabrous with a (9-)16-25 mm long pappus (Feathery bristles structure that function as a "parachute" which enables the seed to be carried by the wind).
Chromosome number: 2n = 20.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Senecio mweroensis group
- Senecio mweroensis Baker: (subsp. mweroensis) has stem bases not swollen, petiolate flat leaves, 1-5 cm(or more) long, 2-3 cm broad. Flower orange-red. Distsrubution: Zambia, Tanzania.
- Senecio mweroensis subs. leptophyllus (C.Jeffrey) G.D.Rowley: is the more robust subspecies with much swollen stem bases, straight leaves and deep pink or red flower disc. Distsrubution: Arabian Peninsula, Ethiopia, Kenya.
- Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus (P.Halliday) G.D.Rowley: Has stem base somewhat swollen; Leaves biconvex and bright magenta flowers. Distribution: Arabian Peninsula, Ethiopia, Kenya.
- Senecio mweroensis f. schwartzii (L.E.Newton) G.D.Rowley: Differs from ssp. leptophyllus for is larger branch-segments and capitula. Leaves with faint groove and window stripe on upper face. Distribution: Kenya, Eastern Provinves (Burole Mts.).
Cultivation and Propagation: Senecio mweroensis (Kleinia mweroensis) is a good succulent in frost free zones and also a great container plant for full sun to partial shade. It is probably a winter grower and need water from October, when the new leaves can be seen forming on the growing tip. In April the leaves begin to go yellow and drop off, so now it rests quite dry in to summer. But others suggest to water it moderately all year round as it tends to be an opportunistic plant that tend to grow in each time of the year whenever it has enough water in fair weather and rest when temperatures are too hot or too cool and may have several or sometimes no growth cycles in a year. It must be grown very hard in the nursery as close to the natural conditions as possible. This ensures that it keeps its compact habit.
Soil: Give the plant a well drained, airy, growing medium which mainly consists of non organic material such us clay, pumice, lava grit, and only a little peat or leaf-mould.
Irrigation: It prefers to be on the dry side with good but infrequent waterings but looks best with regular watering in hot months. Less water during winter. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. These plants rot off very quickly if over watered.
Hardiness: Hardy to approx to -5 (or less) degrees Celsius. It it is cultivated in open air in the tropical and warm Mediterranean climate, and can withstand light frost for short periods if very dry, in these situations it will better resist if sheltered by the winter rains, seen that the humidity and low temperatures render it more sensitive to rottenness. In the green-house keep temperatures over the 5°C, best 10-12°C. Senecio mweroensis and its near neighbour Kleinia pendula should be kept very dry until all danger of frost is past. USDA Zone 9b to 12.
Exposure: Full sun to filtered light.
Maintenance: The flower stems need to be removed to keep a tidy appearance. From time to time it is better to cut out some of the older growth to make room for the new. Like quite small pots, repot in very later winter, early spring.
Propagation: It is easy to propagate by cuttings in late spring to summer, just take a cutting of the plant let it dry for 1 or 2 weeks and stuff it in the ground (preferably dry, loose, extremely well draining soil).
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