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SMITHII  Van Jaarsveld & al., 2008

Section Rosulares

Distribution : Endemic to the Noodsberg 50 - 60 km northwest of Durban, 800 - 1000 m.


Description :

Perennial forming basal, compact, rosulate clusters, when in flower, up to 25 cm tall and 20 cm in diameter.

Roots fibrous.

Stems erect to decumbent, succulent, terete, up to 8 mm thick, glabrous, yellowish green at first, becoming reddish brown with age.

Leaves sessile, firm, distinctly succulent, linear-triangular, 4 - 10 (-15) cm long, 8 - 12 mm broad and up to 10 mm thick, upper surface flat to slightly channelled, lower surface rounded, yellowish to reddish green, faintly purplish mottled below; apex acute, mucronate, margin entire.

Inflorescence a terminal, round-topped thyrse, 9 - 12 cm high, with numerous pedicellate 5-merous flowers in one to many dichasia, lower part of inflorescence glabrous, upper parts covered in many recurved, scabrid hairs, bracts 3 - 5 pairs, leaf-like, triangular-subulate, becoming smaller upwards, upper bracts 10 x 4 mm, floral bracts 5 x 1.5 mm, pedicels 1 - 3 mm long.

Flowers : Sepals subulate, 2.5 - 3 x 1.5 mm, subglabrous, with scattered recurved translucent scabrid hairs and distinct marginal cilia, apex acute, corolla urceolate, petals red, triangular-lanceolate, 5 x 1.8 mm, spreading and recurved at apex, basally fused into a tube 1.5 mm long, apex reddish with distinct subulate dorsal appendage 0.5 mm long.

Flowering time : January - March.


Note :

Its closest relative is Crassula alba var. alba, from which it differs by

- its yelowish green, smooth, very succulent, almost subulate leaves,

- margins of mature leaves not being ciliate,

- red flowers and

- half as long sepals.

Photos Gideon F. Smith

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