Succulent Gardening: The Art of Nature

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Senecio Scaposa var. addoensis

Origin and Habitat: Senecio scaposus var. addoensis is endemic to the Uitenhage District in the Eastern Cape, Republic of South Africa. It is restricted to an area of about 200 km², known from two locations (Addo Elephant National Park and Port Elizabeth).  Habitat and ecology: Kowie Thicket, Sundays Thicket, Groot Thicket. S. scaposus var. addoensis dwells on shallow soil among sandstone rocks over a east-facing rock mountainside. This taxon is declining due to trampling by people in the Baakens Valley in Port Elizabeth. There is also ongoing expansion of suburban residential areas in the Glen Hurd area, which is further reducing the available habitat. In the Baakens River Valley, a large subpopulation of between 1000 and 2000 plants is restricted to a rocky outcrop of about 1 500 m². Plants grow in an area rich in other succulents. The status of the population in the Addo Elephant National Park is not known. Senecio scaposus typically has spindle-shaped leaves covered with velvety white tomentum. In the variety addoensis the leaf-tips are often flattened, crimped or lobed, resulting in a triangular-pointed to spoon shape. The young leaves have a white to silvery felted covering (tomentum) that allows the green of the leaf to show. The silvery covering may be shed as they get older. This felted covering is an adaptation to the dry conditions under which the plant grows and serves to reflect the sunlight, preventing over-heating  or burning. In time it forms small clump. Derivation of specific name: “addoensis” For the occurrence at Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, Republic of South Africa.
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