A. leucophyllus is native to South Africa. Its type locality, that is, to say, the place in which it has been collected for the very first time, is a little town called Montagu, in Cape province. Its area of distribution is quite restricted: it includes only some hills around Montagu. Nevertheless, it is very abundant and frequent in this area. It grows mainly in rocks crevices, in semi-arid climate conditions.
Adromischus leucophyllus is a dwarf succulent, that reach a maximum height of 30 centimeters and may take on the aspect of a ground-covering plant, forming small, circular, maps. It’s rather sought after especially for its peculiar leaves and its small size. The leaves are white, rounded, flattened, and covered in a fine, whitish pruine, occasionally spotted in blood-purplish red spots. Young leaves always start off red, then turn green and, finally, white as the pruine develops.. The pruine is actually a strategy to minimize water loss: it’s made of microscopic hairs that reduce evapotranspiration from the leaf surface. The evapotranspiration is the way in which plants loose water from their leaves: it’s how plants “sweat”. The pruine covers the entire plant, also including stems, flower stalks and the calyx (which is the ensemble of leaves immediately above the petals of any flower). Just like the leaves, also the flower stalk starts off red and gradually whitens from the base to the top as the pruine keeps forming. Flowers are pale pink in colour, 1 centimeter wide, and give birth to fruits and seeds with difficulty. This species, in fact, seems to prefer to reproduce through offsets rather than by seeds.
A. leucophyllus is not difficult to cultivate. Here below are our cultivation tips:
A. leucophyllus requires plenty of light all year round. Nevertheless, we suggest to avoid direct sunlight at least during the hottest hours of Summer days.
This plant is native to warm climates, thus it doesn’t bear temperatures below 10 °C and it enjoys humid air. Keep it away from cold and intense sun.
Water moderately, waiting for the soil to dry completely before each watering. Once every two weeks in spring and summer will be enough. In Winter, instead reduce the irrigation frequency to once every two months.
The best option is a well draining soil, for example formed by a mixture of peat and sand so that the water does not stagnate.
They do not need frequent fertilization: you can just dilute the fertilizer with watering once a year.
Repotting is rarely necessary as A. leucophyllum is a slow-growing succulent.
Adromischus leucophyllus can be propagated either by leaf cutting or by seeds. Leaf cutting is, however, the simplest method and thus it’s more frequently used. To realize the leaf cutting, choose a healthy leaf and cut it completely from the stem, using a sharp knife. Before planting it, wait for the wound to dry completely. Another possible propagation method consists in simply taking off and replanting an offset. Sowing, though is the most difficult method, is possible. However, you’ll have to be patient, as Adromischus in general are very slow-growing. The seeds should be sown in a well-drained substrate, that should be maintained rather moist until the germination occurs.
The species name “Leucophyllus” literally means “with white leaves”, referring to the pale, whitish colour of the plant. It has been chosen in 1954, when Mr. Uitewaal of Amsterdam published the requisite Latin diagnosis and a very interesting description and history of the plant.
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