Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca
fen-es-TRAY-ree-uh rope-a-lo-FIL-la aw-ran-ti-AYE-kuh
Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca (N.E.Br.) H.E.K.Hartman is the correct and accepted scientific name for this subspecies of Fenestraria rhopalophylla. It was first documented by Heidrun Elsbeth Klara Hartmann (née Osterwald) in Botanische Jahrbücher fur Systematik in 1982.
Fenestraria rhopalophylla (Schltdl. & Diels) N.E. Br. is the correct and accepted scientific name of the species. It was named and described as such by Nicholas Edward Brown in The Gardener’s Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette in 1927. He also named and described the genus name in the same publication on the same date. It was first described as Mesembryanthemum rhopalophyllum by Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter and Friedrich Ludwig Emil Diels in Aus Namaland und Kalahari in 1907.
I bought this plant from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2009. The label said it was a Fenestraria aurantiaca and the common name was Baby Toes. I didn’t know much about succulent care at the time and I lost several, including the Baby Toes.
The name Fenestraria comes from the Latin word “fenestra” referring to the transparent area on the tips of the leaves.
There is only one accepted species and one accepted subspecies in the genus.
I used The Plant List when I first did my research for this plant. Although it is no longer maintained, I still get a lot of information on the website. According to the 2013 version of The Plant List, the genus Mesembryanthemum consisted of 1,119 names. There were 76 accepted species and 3 accepted infraspecific names. 126 were synonyms and a WHOPPING 914 names were STILL UNRESOLVED! Carl von Linnaeus officially named the Mesembryanthemum genus in Species Plantarum in 1753. It seems that every succulent type of plant that had flowers like the Mesembryanthemum were put in that genus. Botanists, horticulturalists and other groups are trying to get them all straightened out and they have done a pretty good job so far.
Origin: Coastal South Africa from Namaqualand in the Northern Cape to Luderitz
Zones: USDA Zones 9-11 (20-40° F)
Size: Some information suggests up to 6” tall then says the leaves are up to 1 1/2 “ long…
Soil: Very fast draining soil such as a good cactus mix amended with additional grit, perlite or pumice. About 50/50 potting soil and other amendments.
Light: Information suggests full to part sun outside and bright indirect light indoors.
Water: Water sparingly at all times to avoid rotting. Some information says “regular” watering… Yeah, right!
Dormancy: Probably winter dormant although not on the tables I have checked.
Flowers: Produces white and yellow flowers from mid-summer through fall.
This plant is weird… They actually grow mostly covered with sand and have transparent leaf tips, usually above the ground, allow light into the leaves for photosynthesis. So, how come we grow them differently in pots? These plants can form large clumps from offsets.
Someday I may try growing another Fenestraria…
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