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Origin and Habitat: Anacampseros retusa has a long distribution (which, like many species in southern Africa seems to follow the main roadway) from Luderitz in southern Namibia through Namaqualand to Ceres Karoo and Worcester.
Habit and ecology: This species grows in rocky flats and stony slopes.
- Anacampseros retusa Poelln.
Anacampseros retusa Poelln.
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 27: 131 1929
- Anacampseros retusa Poelln.
- Anacampseros nitida Poelln.
- Anacampseros retusa f. parva G.Will.
- Anacampseros retusa f. rubra G.Will.
- Anacampseros truncata Poelln.
Anacampseros retusa subs. lanuginosa G.Will.
Excelsa 20: 29 (2003).
CHINESE (中文): 青姬
Description: Anacampseros retusa is a dwarf proliferous, succulent-leaved plant with a short thickened caudex which has branch stems about 40 mm long. They form flat-topped rosettes of fleshy leaves, these dark blackish-green, club shaped with a very rounded triangular top, close-packed with short tufts of hair between them.The whole plant can eventually reach a height of up to 4.5 cm when mature (up to 10-15 cm in cultivation). This species so closely resembles Anacampseros comptonii in colouring and size that a close inspection is sometime needed to distinguish them. Its larger rose- pink flowers, several on a stouter stem, distinguish it at once..
Rootstock: The stem-like rootstock or caudex will grow 1,5-2 cm in diameter.
Stems (branches): Vertically compressed (internodes not visible).
Leaves: Densely packed, not more than 10-11 mm long, club shaped or wedge-shaped, truncate with a very rounded triangular, lance-shaped or almost round top, wool in the axils present but not always distinct. Green, brownish green or dark blackish-green. The more exposure to light this plants receives, the more vivid the colours of the leaves.
Flowers: Several on raised flowering axis. Flowers flat, wheel-shaped. Petals pale to deep pink, stamens about 25. The blossoms are self-fertile; producing seeds in a cup of erect filaments that are dispersed by the wind.
Blooming season: The flowers grow intermittently throughout the year, but mostly in the summer. They open in the afternoon and close in early evening.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Anacampseros retusa group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01 June 2000
2) Foden, W. & Potter, L. 2005. Anacampseros retusa Poelln. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/12/10
3) Botanical Society of South Africa “Veld & flora”, Volume 2 Botanical Society of South Africa, 1975
4) Peter Goldblatt “Cape Plants: A Conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa” National Botanical Institute of South Africa, 2000
Cultivation and Propagation: Anacampseros retusa is quite resistant to cultivation. The only things that can kill this plant are cold and overwatering. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to provide adequate growing conditions in order to obtain compact plant with many flowers.
Growth rate: Slow growing to start but does well under cultivation. They need to be moderately large (about 20 cm in diameter) before they flower.
Soils: Use a an open and free draining mineral compost with little organic matter (peat, humus) that allows therefore roots to breath (as it is rot prone). Outdoors a well-draining rocky or sandy soil is ideal.
Repotting: Repot Anacampseros retusa once a year in order to evaluate the health of the plant and provide a larger growing space being careful not to damage the sensitive roots.
Watering: It likes a winter's rest and should be kept completely dry during the winter months. From early spring onwards the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late spring when the plant should be in full growth. Water regularly during the aestival growth cycle so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water (this plant need plenty of water) But needs to be avoided wetting the bodies of these plants while they are in sunlight. A wet plant in the sun light can cause sun burning which can lead to scars or even fungal infections and death. From late summer watering should be reduced to force the plant to go in to a state of semi dormancy, by autumn you should be back in to the winter watering regime. Keep dry with ample airflow in winter (but for outdoors cultivation it is somewhat resistant to wet conditions, too if grown in very draining substrata). In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!! Care must be taken with watering as they tends to become swollen and untidy in growth habit if given too much water and shade.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer during the growing season diluted to one-fourth potency and mix into the watering can for application.
Hardiness: Keep dry at 5- 10° C in winter, but can tolerate sporadic light frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather. Pots may be placed outdoors during the summer months, but must be moved indoors during the winter. USDA zones 9-11
Exposition: The plant tolerates bright situations, if kept too dark they may become overly lush and greener and could be prone to rotting due to over watering. Strong but filtered light encourages flowering, but is likely to suffer from sun scorch or stunted growth if over exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day in summer. .
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame. It do well outdoors in raised beds, rock gardens and terraces as well. The slowly creeping stems cluster freely to form mats as a small area ground cover. Anacampseros retusa also makes an excellent potted windowsill plant.
Pests & diseases: It may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation. Nonetheless, watch carefully for any significant decline in health. This may signal a pest problem that should be dealt with quickly in order to prevent scarring, stunting and even death.
- Red spiders: Red spiders may be effectively rubbed up by watering or misting the plants from above.
- Mealy bugs: Mealy bugs occasionally develop aerial into the new growth among the leaves with disfiguring results, but the worst types develop underground on the roots and are invisible except by their effects. Eliminate mealybug infestations by dabbing the critters with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol or by soaking the succulent roots in a systemic insecticide.
- Scales: Scales are rarely a problem.
- Rot: This species is particularly easy and accommodating, seldom suffer of cryptogamic diseases. Rot it is only a minor problem with cacti if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Propagation: it is easy to propagate either through stem cuttings or seed.
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