Cephalophyllum framesii is a small, clump-forming plant up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall, with succulent leaves and stems. The leaves are…
Common names: Strandveld speckled aloe (Eng.) strandveld gespikkelde-aalwyn (Afr.)
This attractive aloe will enhance contrast in any garden setup with its colourful flowers and astonishing leaves, which are covered with many spots and have a variety of colour forms. Aloe framesii does well when planted on sunny slopes with good drainage, in hot, dry conditions and has minimal water requirements.
Aloe framesii is a slow growing, succulent plant, with multibranched stems growing along the ground. This species forms dense groups of up to 20 rosettes. The leaves of these rosettes are long and narrow and are with or without numerous white spots on the undersides and upper sides of the leaves. Leaves vary from grey-green to light green and have reddish brown teeth on the margins.
Aloe framesii flowers are orange-red with greenish tips, borne in midwinter, from June to July. The single, sometimes 3-branched, inflorescences are between 700 and 800 mm long. Flowers are tubular with the stamens and style protruding from the mouth. Fruit capsules ripen in sequence, with the lower, older flowers ripening first, followed by the younger flowers. Ripe capsules split open revealing small winged seeds.
Aloe framesii is closely related to A. khamiesensis, A. knersvlakensis and A. microstigma. Aloe khamiesensis does not occur on the coast, but rather inland and it is a much taller, single-stemmed species. Aloe knersvlakensis is also an inland species that grows on rocky ridges, and has short floral bracts. Aloe microstigma occurs mostly in the Klein Karoo, is smaller in size and has heavily spotted leaves.
According to the Red List of South African plants website, this species is threatened and has a conservation status of Near Threatened (NT). The number of A. framesii plants is declining because of habitat loss caused by coastal development, mining and agriculture.
Aloe framesii occurs on the western coast of South Africa in the Western and Northern Cape. This species is usually found in sandy areas between Saldanha and Port Nolloth, at altitudes of 100 m. These distribution habitats fall within South Africa’s winter rainfall area, where the summer weather is dry, hot and frost free.
This attractive aloe was named after Percy Ross Frames (1863–1947), who first collected the plant in Namaqualand, just north of Port Nolloth (Van Wyk & Smith, 2005). This species also has 2 synonyms: Aloe amoena and A. microstigma subsp. framesii. The Latin word amoena means ‘beautiful’, referring to the beauty of this species. Microstigma refers to the many small white spots on the leaves of this species from the Latin words mikros, meaning ‘small’ and stigma, meaning a ‘mark’ or ‘blemish’ .
Aloes are one of the more recognizable succulents known, with over 600 species in this genus. It belongs to the family Asphodelaceae, which has several other genera, including, Astroloba, Kumara, Aloidendron, Gasteria and Haworthia. The name Aloe derives from the Greek word aloé, which describes the bitter taste of the juice found in aloe leaves.
The leaves of Aloe framesii hold plenty of water, and supply the plant with moisture during long periods of drought. The colour of the leaves also changes from greenish to a bluish tint, that also assists the plant to reduce moisture loss. This species has a shallow root system that allows the plants to take up water in minimal rain conditions. Flowers produce nectar which attract and supply food to bees, who are the main pollinators. Seeds of Aloe framesii are light and small and are dispersed by wind.
Although many other aloes are used for their medicinal value, there are no records of Aloe framesii being used medicinally. This species is mainly used as an ornamental plant in garden landscapes. It does well in rockeries and gives excellent contrast in any garden setup.
Aloe framesii is mainly propagated by seed, because of the ease of germination. Many aloe seeds may be infested with insects that feed on them, take precaution and only select healthy seeds. Tiny holes in the capsule and fruit is a good indication that the seed might be infested and not viable. This species can also be propagated by cuttings or truncheons. Cleanly remove a branch from the parent plant and leave it to dry for a couple of days. Plant the cutting directly in clean coarse sand and transplant to a well-drained soil medium of 1 part well rotted compost and 2 parts river sand, once rooted.
Sow seed in the warmer months of the year (beginning in September). Fresh seed is always the best to use. Sow seed in coarse, river sand and cover the seed with a layer of sand about 2 mm deep. Do not sow seed too deep as it can rot. Keep the medium moist at an optimum temperate of 25ºC. Seed will germinate within 2 to 3 weeks. Treat small seedlings with a fungicide as they are prone to damping off. Seedlings can be transplanted once they have reach 2 to 3 cm, into bigger containers with a soil that consists of 1 part well rotted compost and 2 parts river sand.
This species grows very slowly, but even its small size is very attractive, making it ideal for containers and small gardens. In cultivation it might get attacked by white scale, but a good insecticide should get rid of the problem.
Aloe framesii plants are best planted on sunny slopes and need sufficient space, as they form multiple rosettes. This species does not do well in areas with frost. It needs well-drained soil conditions and does well in rockeries and waterwise gardens.
Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden
SA Distribution: Northern Cape, Western Cape
Origin and Habitat: It has a restricted distribution on the northern Knersvlakte in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Habitat: It grows on quartz fields among rougher rocks, like Argyroderma congregatum.
Ecology: The mechanism of seed dispersal is through a higrochastic fruit and the seed is only dispersed in the immediate environment, which results in local small communities.
Description: Argyroderma framesii subsp. hallii is a tufted succulent with tiny purple flowers. It is comparatively larger and stouter than the type.
Habit: It is a compact, leaf succulent forming small rounded mounds of 10 to 20 plant bodies. It is one of the more branched Argyroderma species.
Bodies (Paired leaves): 12-20 mm long, up to 12 mm wide, half-ovoid, hood-shaped, keeled, 5-10 mm apart at the apex, spreading, old ones rusty-brown, persisting over many years, often distinctly trigonous. The subsp. hallii has leaves 10-15 mm broad, bracteoles homogeneously reddish and the the gap between them more than 5 mm broad.
Blooming Habits: Flowers 25-30(-40) mm in diameter, purple or yellow. Flower-stalks 3-4 mm long.
Blooming season: Summer.
Fruits: Round 10-12 chambered homogeneously reddish, with brownish bracteoles that touch the base of capsule.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Argyroderma framesii group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Heidrun E. K. Hartmann“Aizoaceae A – E” Springer (2001)
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” Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug./2011
3) Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. “Red List of South African Plants.” Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
4) Ernst Van Jaarsveld, Ben-Erik Van Wyk, Gideon Smith “Succulents of South Africa: a guide to the regional diversity” Tafelberg, 01/Jul/2000
5) Kakteen und andere Sukkulenten 32: 1311981). 33: 172-3 (1982).
6) AFPD. 2008. African Flowering Plants Database - Base de Donnees des Plantes a Fleurs D'Afrique.
7) Bailey, L. H. & E. Z. Bailey. 1976. “Hortus Third” i–xiv, 1–1290. MacMillan, New York.
8) Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. Welman, E. Reitief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. v. Wyk & A. Nicholas. 1987. "2List of species of southern African plants." 2 Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Africa 2(1–2): 1–152(pt. 1), 1–270(pt. 2).
Cultivation and Propagation: Argyroderma are easy to grow. Argyroderma are more forgiving than Lithops of excess water (though it should be rarely given in summer) and thrive in light winter rains in temperate climates and were heading for summer dormancy.
Soil requirements: It needs a very draining mineral, rather acidic, substrate. A mixture comprising 20 % pumice grit, 20% lava grit, 20% quartz grit, 20% coarse river sand and 20 % garden soil seems well suited.
Water needs: Requires little water otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water minimally in summer, only when the plant starts shrivelling. But be careful with watering (rot sensitive).
Fertilization: Fertilize moderately during the growing season with diluted high potassium fertilizer.
Hardiness: It is fairly cold resistant and hardy to -5°C (or less if dry) depending on the clone.
Exposure: Need full sun, (with insufficient illumination bodies get thinner as a result of the lack of sun) but keep cool and shaded in summer.
Propagation: Seeds or division of larger clumps. Argyroderma is very easy to start from seed. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 21°C. Although they will start from cuttings, it is quite difficult to get them to root. If they start to rot there is usually part of the plant that can be removed and possibly rooted.
Common names: rankvygie (Afr.)
Cephallophyllum alstonii is a creeping perennial succulent, ideal as a ground cover, or as a pot plant on a patio. The spectacular, brightly coloured blood-red flowers attract insects when the flowers open.
Cephalophyllum alstonii is a creeping perennial succulent, the leaves are triangular, about 60-120 mm long, greenish, erect, and the surface is smooth throughout. Attractive, large, blood-red flower clusters occur in winter (June-September). The fruit capsules have between 10-24 locules that contain small, pear-shaped brown seeds.
This species occurs in the Ceres Karoo area which receives 100 to 350 mm rainfall per year, mainly in winter. It cannot tolerate heavy frost and does best in areas of low rainfall.
The genus name is derived from the Greek words cephalos, head, and phyllon, leaf, and refers to the compact heads of leaves. The genus has 33 species, and Cephalophyllum pillansii, a commonly cultivated creeper, whose yellow flowers have cherry red centres, is another noteworthy member.
The spectacular bright red flowers open mainly at midday and in the afternoon to attract insect pollinators. In this genus, dispersal of seed is closely related to the opening of the capsule through moisture. The seeds are expelled from the locules, triggered by rain, when conditions for germination of seedlings are favourable.
This popular, water-wise garden plant is successfully used to prevent soil erosion, thus stabilizing the exposed ground. On farms, the leaves serve as a source of food for sheep.
In the garden this plant is used best with other succulents such as Cotyledon orbiculata (pig's ears), Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (bokbaai vygies) and Cheiridopsis acuminata, which makes a striking display.
Propagation can be done by means of seed and cuttings. Sow seed in April or May (winter). Prepare shallow seed trays containing well-drained, coarse river sand. First water the tray with a fine rose spray before sowing. The seed should be sown evenly on the medium and covered with a thin layer of sand of about 1mm deep. Keep seed tray moist, not wet. Transplant seedlings in September or October (spring) in a 1 pint bag in a well-drained mixture of 4 parts fine river sand : 2 parts coarse river sand : 4 parts well-rotted compost : 2 parts perlite : 1 part vermiculite.
Cuttings can also be taken in April or May (winter) with a sharp knife. To enhance rooting success use a rooting hormone powder. Long trailing pieces of the plant can be cut and layered in a coarse sandy mixture, resulting in many small plantlets.
White scale insects are sometimes found on the leaves of the plant. Careful monitoring of the plant for this pest on a weekly basis is very important.
Karoo Desert NBG
SA Distribution: Northern Cape, Western Cape