A rare Ceropegia that comes from Maji Ya Chumvi on the Mombassa Road between Voi and Mombassa. It grows in an area that is very hot, reaching temperatures of 40°C. It looks similar to Ceropegia sandersonii with a parachute-like structure. It grows mostly in Acacia shrubs where it gets protection from goats. It also grows in other shrubs and in grass, but it is then more likely to be eaten by the goats.

It can grow up to 2 metres in length and the stems are very similar to those of Ceropegia ampliata with the same small leaves, but the stems are grey in stead of green. The roots are fusiform, that is to say, thick and spindle-like. One specimen was found last year in flower. This year, I searched the same area and after twenty minutes I found one plant with a seedpod from which I collected some seed. I sowed some in my greenhouse and some have been put in tissue-culture to get this species into circulation to collectors. The seed has germinated and the plants are growing reasonably well. Patience, patience ….

Ceropegia galeata seedpod

Ceropegia galeata seedpod

Ceropegia galeaeta flower (photo taken last year by Rainer Martin)

Ceropegia galeaeta flower (photo taken last year by Rainer Martin)

A strange name for a strange plant, even stranger is the other name it is known by, namely: Spathulopetalum dicupuae; I will stick to Caralluma. It has a different growth to what one normally associates with Stapelias: when they are going to flower, the stems elongate producing flowers along the extended growth. These elongated parts can be anything between 14 and 20 cm long and the flower lobes themselves are 2 cm long. There are about 15 species of this type of Caralluma found in Eastern Africa and one or two in India.
The plant comes from eastern Kenya around Archers post which is north of Isiolo. This is a very dry part of the country with only sporadic rainfall. It is also a very hot area, therefore the plant in cultivation must be kept at a high temperature all the year round, at least 15° C, but preferably warmer. Because it requires such high temperatures, it is a rare Stapeliad in cultivation. It can be grown in the full sun where it will get the red-mottling on the stems, otherwise it will remain green. They require very little water throughout the year, so it is best to use a very open compost with plenty of grit.

Caralluma dicapuae Archers post

Caralluma dicapuae Archers post

This species originates from Kenya and is very similar to C. robynsiana and C. evelynae, but is easier to grow and will tolerate lower temperatures and humidity. It grows in its natural habitat on sheltered river banks and in wooded valleys. One of the places it can be found is the Meri river near Mount Kenya and another is the Teita Hills near Voi. Voi, by the way, is where a number of species of Ceropegia can be found, such as C. solomensis and various nilotica types.
The plant will get very large, producing growth up to 3 meters in length. Only when it has reached a certain length will it flower. This is a common feature in a number of rampant species and it is therefore advisable not to cut back the shoots or no flowers will appear. The colour of the flower tips can vary slightly, from pale yellowy green through to red and the stems can reach a diameter of 2.5 to 3 cm at the base. Unlike most other ceropegias, this species will flower on the peduncles from the previous year.

 

Ceropegia succulenta

Ceropegia succulenta


Ceropegia succulenta

Ceropegia succulenta

Impatiens sodenii is a very easy plant to grow. In the summer, it can be gown outside, in shadow or in full sun. In the full sun, the leaves turn a reddish colour which makes the plant more attractive. It flowers well with white flowers for the ‘ordinary’ sodenii, also known as ssp. sodenii, and pink for the ssp. oliveri. There is a third variety, ‘Magenta Flash’, with a much larger splash of bright red in the center of the flower. The plants grown in shade can reach a height of 3 metres, but those grown in the sun stay a lot smaller, up to about 1 metre. This species is found in Kenia and Tanzania, growing in exposed rocky outcrops where it stays a lot smaller, also depending on the amout of rain it gets.
It is easily grown from seed or cuttings, preferably in the spring to get a good start. It is not fussy as regards the soil requirement, but does like regular feeding. As with most Impatiens, it does not like frost, so make sure to bring it back inside before the winter.

 

Impatiens sodenii ssp. oliveri

Impatiens sodenii ssp. oliveri

 

Impatiens sodenii ssp. sodenii

Impatiens sodenii ssp. sodenii

 

Impatiens sodenii Magenta Flash

Impatiens sodenii Magenta Flash

This caralluma is now officially called Orbea dummeri, but many people still know it as Caralluma dummeri. This plant was collected by me at Marble Quarry near Nairobi in Kenya. It likes a fairly high winter temperature, somewhere between 10 and 15°C to do well. It is easily propagated by breaking off the stems, dying them for a couple of weeks and placing them in the soil again.
They can be grown in the full sun, but it seems to do better in slight shade. It is one of the few stapelias that has bright green flowers which is quite unusual for the genus. They are not scented, bad or otherwise, so worth having in your collection.

 

Caralluma dummeri

Caralluma dummeri

This species comes from Kenya, despite its name, and is quite distinctive because of the square stems. It is a tropical species requiring reasonably warm temperatures. It is a clambering species that tends to drape over branches in shrubs. Flowers are not produced often, but are worthwhile waiting for.
It belongs to the larger nilotica group due to the constriction in the base of the flower. It is a very rare plant in cultivation and only infrequently offerred.

 

Ceropegia mozambicensis

Ceropegia mozambicensis