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Accepted Scientific Name: Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus (P.Halliday) G.D.Rowley
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 62(6): 282. 1990
Origin and Habitat: Originally discovered in Dhofar, Arabia, but apparently present all over southwest Arabia and northeast Africa (Ethiopia to Kenya)
Habitat and ecology: It is widespread in the drier, sandy rocky areas, hill slopes, escarpment, vertical cliffs and ledges often in crevices with Commiphora bush. In Oman it grows together with many interesting succulents, including Rhytidocaulon fulleri, Adenium obesum, Echidnopsis scuttelata var. dhofarensis, Aloe whitcombei, and Cibirhiza dhofarensis. It is easily overlooked unless in flower because it grows under other shrubs or between rocks where its stems blend perfectly into the background.
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
ARABIC ( لعربية ): Hubberdi, هبرادي
CHINESE (中文): 普西莉菊
Description: Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus (Kleinia saginata), called by hortists Senecio fulleri for many years, is a small succulent differing from Senecio mweroensis for its upright, fatter, almost globose stem branching at the top, with distinctive shape and an attractive pattern of shorter spidery lines radiating from the leaf bases. It has dull red to bright magenta florets. It is closely related to to Senecio pendulus, which differs in its curious burrowing habit and extreme reduction of leaves.
Habit: It is a perennial, tuberous-rooted, succulents herb with glabrous deciduous jointed stem branching at or below ground-level, base sometimes swollen.
Branches: 7-20 cm high, 1-4 cm in diameter, almost globose to shortly cylindrical, stout, terete, erect, very plump, strongly articulate, low tuberculate, perfectly glabrous, glaucous green or bronze-green densely white punted (when young) longitudinally marked with 5-8 dark purple radiating arrowhead stripes below the leaf-scars. Leaf-bases round, grey-green more or less distinct on the tubercles tips.
Leaves: Near the top of the stem, deciduous, fleshy, elliptic or linear-lanceolate, to oblanceolate, 1-3 cm long, 2 mm thick, the base abruptly dilated, sharp, glaucous.
Inflorescence (scapes): Terminal, erect, single-flowered (rarely branched), 16-30 cm, 5-8 mm in diameter at the dilated tip, slightly purple- striped.
Flowes (Capitula): Solitary diskoid, 2.6 cm long and 1.5-3 cm in diameter. Involucrum cylindrical to campanulate or oblong. Phyllaries (involucral bracts) 9 to13(-20) 15–23 mm long. Ray flowers none. Disc flowers up to 30, bright purple (but also orange or red), tubular, campanulate 5-toothed, 14-17.5 mm long, corolla hairless 19–28 mm long, tube glabrous, slightly expanded in upper two-thirds, lobes spreading 3 mm long apex papillose Anthers yellow, 3-3.5 mm in length. The style is forked, thin, sub-pink; stigma-lobes red ± 0.75 mm long papillose.
Fruits: Fruit are cylindrical multi-ribbed achenes 3 mm long, hairy, with a 16-19 mm long white pappus (Feathery bristles structure that function as a "parachute" which enables the seed to be carried by the wind).
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.).
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer, 2002
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/ago/2011
3) Werner Rauh “The Wonderful World of Succulents: Cultivation and Description of Selected Succulent Plants Other Than Cacti” Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984
4) Hermann Jacobsen “A Handbook of Succulent Plants: Ficus to Zygophyllum” volume 2 Blandford Press, 1960
5) Gordon D. Rowley "Succulent Compositae: A Grower's Guide to the Succulent Species of Senecio und Othonna" Strawberry Press, 1994
6) Anthony G. Miller, Miranda Morris, Susanna Stuart-Smith “Plants of Dhofar: The Southern Region of Oman: Traditional, Economic and Medicinal Uses” Office of the Advisor for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court, 1988
7) H. Beentje, C. Jeffrey & D.J.N. Hind “Flora of Tropical East Africa” Part Part 3, page 547 2005.
8) P.Halliday “A new species of Kleinia (Compositae) from Arabia” in: Kew Bulletin, Vol. 37, No. 4, 1983
Cultivation and Propagation: Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus (Kleinia saginata) is 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 subs. saginatus 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.
Traditional medicine: Senecio mweroensis subs. saginatus could be used for different medical purposes. The juice of this plant was put on wounds or open cuts and was also used for infected or damaged eyes.
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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