Hello folks! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I know I am enjoying a break from the heat since it rained. I like being able to sleep with the window open at night and hear the frogs and crickets. Last week I was browsing the Facebook Group called Succulent Marketplace USA and found a member offering Senecio stapeliiformis. It looked pretty interesting, so I just couldn’t resist. I checked the species out online and it seemed it may be a fairly uncomplicated plant to have as a companion. I made a comment asking about the plant and the seller promptly responded. I received the package today and was surprised to find six individual rooted stems. I was only expecting one! My thanks to Lanie Ruiz for a smooth transaction and successful shipping. Thanks, too, for introducing me to this plant.
Of course, I had to do a proper name search to make sure the name was still Senecio stapeliiformis. According to Plants of the World Online by Kew, the accepted name has changed to Kleinia stapeliiformis. Well, the name of several species of Senecio has changed back and forth among the two genera for a while. In fact, it was given the name Kleinia stapeliiformis by Otto Stapf when he described it in the Botanical Magazine in 1924. It was first named and described by Edwin Percy Phillips in Flowering Plants of South Africa in 1921.
It was strange that the scientific name is written Kleinia stapeliiformis Stapf instead of Kleinia stapeliiformis (E.Phillips) Stapf. Shouldn’t it be that latter using Senecio stapeliiformis E.Phillips as the basionym since it was the first name? Weird. It was also strange that, even though Version 1.1 of The Plant List says Kleinia stapeliiformis is now the correct and accepted name, Tropicos doesn’t have this name in its database. As I have mentioned before, The Plant List was a cooperative effort by the Missouri Botanical Garden (of which Tropicos is a division of) and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The Plant List has not been maintained since 2013.
Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) still lists this species as Senecio stapeliiformis and also lists (without photos) a Senecio stapeliiformis subsp. minor. Dave’s Garden has a page for both Kleinia stapeliiformis and Kleinia stapeliiformis subsp. minor.
This plant is a member of the Asteraceae Family of flowering plants along with 1,867 other genera. According to Plants of the World Online, the Kleinia genus contains 72 (hmmm. It was 67 the night before) accepted species. WAIT A MINUTE!!! They list TWO accepted Kleinia genus. Kleinia Mill. and Kleinia Jacq.! Something is whacky with that. I think I will email Raphael Goverts, the senior editor of Kew, to find out what’s up with that… POWO lists no accepted species in the genus Kleinia Mill. while Kleinia Jacq. has 72 accepted species… Llifle says the accepted species are in the genus Kleinia Mill. Some databases say that all the Senecio species are now in the Kleinia genus, but Plants of the World Online maintain a whopping 1,441 accepted species of Senecio… Plants of the World Online is still uploading data and MANY of the other databases aren’t up-to-date. It is very difficult to keep track of name changes when they don’t all agree. Maybe they feel the names will eventually change back… Besides that, anyone can use whatever names they choose based on a “legit” description by the person who named the plant. So, even though some databases say one name is correct, others can correctly use a synonym as the correct name. That’s what confuses me…
I like reading all the information on the Lifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) website but sometimes it can be a bit confusing. The editor writes VERY LONG sentences and leaves out a few punctuation marks where needed. I think MOST of the information is contributed by Cactus Art and both websites may, in fact, be from the same person. I have sent emails to both and get no response. Well, Llifle says readers can contribute photos but I have not been able to do that.
Anyway, the Senecio stapeliiformis, I mean Kleinia stapeliiformis, is a perennial succulent with erect to reclining stems branched from the base. It spreads by rhizomes and can apparently be grown as a groundcover in frost-free climates. Llifle says it is “probably” a winter grower which needs water beginning in October. Hmmm… It produces leaves on the growing tips which apparently turn yellow and fall off in April. I guess it in its native habitat in Africa it goes dormant during the summer months when it is hot. So, in nature, this plant doesn’t receive water during the summer months (which is why it goes dormant). However, according to Llifle, “others say” it is an opportunistic plant which will grow year round if given water. They also say it should be grown “hard” in the nursery so it will keep a compact growth habit… Apparently, if given water, it is a fast grower and will even cascade and make a good plant for hanging baskets. It sounds like my Huernia schneideriana (the Carrion Plant).
The page for this plant on Llifle shows several nice photos which include its flowers. It says they produce “large orange hawkweed-like flowers.”
So, this plant should be interesting… 🙂
While putting the new plants in their new pot I noticed there was a tiny stowaway. I wasn’t sure whether to call the immigration department or maybe child services. I messaged Lanie and told her about the stowaway and she said he looks like he needs a new home. She said she thought it was part of the Peanut Cactus she had next to it. If that is what it is, I now have an Echinopsis chamaecereus, too. It is very tiny and is now happily resting in its own little pot. 🙂
If you want to know more about my new companion, you can click HERE which will take you to the page about the species on Llifle.
I am just about finished identifying all the wildflowers I took photos of last Thursday and Saturday but I have to go look at a couple of plants again. The flowers of another plants photos were kind of blurry so I may retake those, too.
So, until next time, stay well, be positive and take a deep breath of fresh air. Get out in nature and just embrace the fact that we are all part of an amazing planet. Don’t forget to GET DIRTY whenever you have a chance!