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Current Photo: CC1242
Available Photos: CC1242 CC0422 CC0852 (click to change photo)
Photographer's Comments: 35mm slide.
Variety: subsp. decoratum
Date Added: 2003-05-01
Entered By: Paul Brunelle
There are about 300 species of Conophytum in South Africa and the Middle East. Perhaps they are the most extreme of the xerophytes, and they range in leaf-pair sizes from large, up to grapefruit size and larger, to dwarf, down from thimble sized or less. The Cone Plant shown clumped here are Conophytum uviforme subsp. decoratum. Each leaf pair is 10mm (3/8") diameter, and 6mm (1/4") tall. Each leaf has a barely visible and slightly raised keel and each pair appears as a single distorted ball. These are special survival factors; in this case exposing minimum areas, allowing each plant to survive in exremely dry habitats, while well hidden from their predators, a strict necessity in their very arid habitat. They also grow partly buried underground, in habitat, which is granite, shale or quartz scree.
C.uviforme is a native of several districts of south western and south Africa, a "super-succulent " mound of pea-sized bodies, each decorated with prominent brownish spots, and from each of which bursts a small, yellow ragged bloom in winter, its growing season. A new body forms inside the old one annually, recycling the sap and flesh of the older one, and it breaks out through the old skin which persists as a protective shield.