Your support is critical to our success.
Origin and Habitat: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, S. Africa (Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga ) and Namibia.
Type locality: Botswana, Lake Ngami.
Altitude range: Up to 1000 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: In sandy soil, often calcareous soil, and in clay, locally frequent.
- Pterodiscus ngamicus N.E.Br. ex Stapf
ENGLISH: Botswana Sandkambro
TSWANA (Setswana): Monontshana, Segwere
Description: Pterodiscus ngamicus, as is implied by the specific name, is a succulent species firstly found in the former Ngamiland, Republic of South Africa (now Botswana). It is a is a caudiciform plant up to 30 cm high, resembling Pterodiscus aurantiacus, but generally somewhat larger and the flowers are yellow, red-maroon or purplish with with yellow tube, sometimes suffused with purple. It has a stout rootstock or caudex with a short tuberous branched stem of the same diameter rising up to few cm above the ground, and sending forth from its crown, on the approach of the wet season, numerous leafy, flowering branches, often covered, like the leaves and flowers, with a powdery pruinose pubescence. Leaves variable, up to 10 × 4 cm, entire toothed or pinnatilobed. Flowers solitary in the leaf axils, showy. The fruit usually rotund to circular in lateral view, have a distinct beak, and 4-longitudinal wings not continuous at base, therefore base distinctly cordate.
*Tuber (caudex): The caudex is partly aerial and partly subterranean; the lowest portion, obconic-cylindric, about 2-5 cm thick which corresponds to the main root, is always succulent, often forming a tuber with equally succulent short, thick stems of approximately the same diameter, more or less divided at the top and bearing a cluster of annual branches.
Annual stems: Branches, herbaceous, succulent, from the stem, 10-18 cm high, more or less glandular-mealy.
Leaves: Leaves very variable, densely glandular-mealy, particularly below, oblong, subentire, dentate or sinuously pinnati-lobate, obtuse or subacute, cuneate at the base, 2.5-10 cm long, 12-40 mm broad usually with 3 pairs of lateral veins. Lobes up to 12 mm long, deltoid to linear-oblong, obtuse. Petiole 10-16 mm long.
Inflorescence: 1 Flowered. Corolla purple with the inside of the tube yellow. Corolla-tube yellow, sometimes suffused with purple, straight cylindrical tube, 2.5-3.5 cm long, to 12 mm wide at the mouthasymmetric, often more or less curved or twisted, sparingly hairy in the throat. Limb c. 20 mm across not exceeding twice the diameter of the throat. Throat yellow. Lobes yellow, red or purplish, subequal, oblate. Filaments hairy at the base, glabrous above or nearly so, the longer 9 mm long. Ovule 1 in each cell.
Blooming season: Summer (October to February). Peak flowering coincides with the main summer rains.
Fruits: Rotund to circular in lateral view, emarginate at both ends,2.5–3.0 cm. long, 2.5–2.8 cm broad, wings up to 12 mm broad not contiguous at the base of the fruit, base of the fruit therefore distinctly cordate. Beak distinct, 2–3 mm broad
Taxonomy notes: There has been some confusion regarding Pterodiscus ngamicus. As Ihlenfeldt (1988) wrote, "This widespread species has been misinterpreted. ..as Pterodiscus luridus Hook.f.; the true Pterodiscus luridus has a very restricted distribution area near the southern coast of South Africa. Unfortunately the type specimen of Pterodiscus ngamicus possesses fruits that are not typical of this species, but are in shape and structure very close to those of Pterodiscus aurantiacus; this is obviously due to the fact that the type locality is near the borderline between the distribution areas of P. ngamicus and P. aurantiacus.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) O. Stapf. “Flora of Tropical Africa”, Vol IV, Part 2, 1905
2) H. D. Ihlenfeldt “Flora Zambesiaca” FZ, Vol 8, Part 3, page 86, 1988
3) Foden, W. & Potter, L. 2005. Pterodiscus ngamicus N.E.Br. ex Stapf. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2016/01/20
4) Pterodiscus ngamicus in: “Botswana Notes and Records” Botswana Society, 1993
5) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer Science & Business Media, 29 June 2013
6) E. Retief, P. P. J. Herman “Plants of the Northern Provinces of South Africa: Keys and Diagnostic Characters” National Botanical Institute, 1997
7) Kirby, G. “Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana” Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 214. (Includes a picture). 2013
8) Setshogo, M.P. “Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana.” Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 92. 2005
9) 9) Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). “Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Pterodiscus ngamicus.”
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=152470, retrieved 20 January 2016
Pterodiscus ngamicus Photo by: Sándor Horváth
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Pterodiscus ngamicus is a caudiciform plant that grows relatively easily and doesn't produce as many stems and leaves as other caudiciforms, making its management easier. The caudex generally underground in the wild is often raised in cultivation.
Growth rate: It grows well, though very slowly, but it possible to increase the speed of growth to some extent by providing adequate amount of water, warmth, and fertilizer during the active growing season, but it’s susceptible to rotting if too wet.
Potting medium: Since roots are quite succulent, use a slightly acidic cactus mix or add extra perlite, vulcanite 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. It like pots with generous drain hole, re-pot every 2 years.
Frost tolerance: Due to its African origin keep warm in winter, the minimum safe average temperature is 5°C, although it can go lower for short periods. It can be grown outdoors in frost-free climates, need anyway to kept above 0°C and dry in winter.
Exposition: It likes a sunny position, but avoid direct blasting sun in summer. Keep the caudex in the shade.
Watering: It should be watered regularly when it begins to produce leaves in spring/summer and kept drier in Winter. Like most caudiciform it likes lots of water during warm and hot weather, and is accustomed to growing under other plants. Make sure after watering, that the soil is actually wet. Many potting soil mixes will have only the surface wet, with water running down the outside of the root ball, and most of the soil dry. Run your finger into the soil 15 minutes after watering to check. Too high or too low temperature will induce dormancy.
Traditional uses: An infusion made from the whole plant boiled in milk is used to make babies grow strong. The same use also applies to Pterodiscus speciosus. An extract of the root is also drunk for heartache.
Maintenance: Repot every two years.
Propagation: The mode of Propagation is by seed.
|Back to Pterodiscus index|
|Back to Pedaliaceae index|
|Back to Succulents Encyclopedia index|