Cheridopsis purpurea

 In Cheiridopsis

Synonyms:

Cheiridopsis splendens

Habitat:

Cheiridopsis purpurea is native to South Africa, specifically from Northern Cape Province. Its area of occurence is really restricted: it is a rare species. Its preferred bedrocks are granite and quartz, and it generally grows inside cracks of these rocks in Succulent Karoo desert.

Description:

Cheiridopsis purpurea is a small mapping, creeping succulent. Its short stems are not very remarkable: the most visible parts of the plants are leaves and flowers. Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, joined at their base like scissors, with a tiny bud between them, hull-shaped, pale green-greyish, with small spots that are visible in backlight. The blooming period, for this plant, is particularly extended: it continues to bloom for a long time in winter to early spring. Each day, The flowers open at noon and close again at the end of the day, after the sunset. Actually, in the same flower only the external petals do this from the outset: inner petals start to follow them only after several days, until when they remain unfold, covering the central part of the flower. They are remarkable for their intense violet colour. Their diameter is more or less of 3,5 centimeters, but during their life, they increase their dimension.

Cultivation:

Cheiridopsis purpurea needs a bright spot to grow properly: it is actually capable to protect herself when the sunlight becomes too intense. It’s better to protect the plant from temperatures below 2-5 ÂșC. The substrate of cultivation should be well draining and rich in minerals. Repotting has to be done often, because C. purpurea is a groundcovering and tend to expand horizontally, so it needs always larger pots. Fertilizers have to be applied once a month. The vegetative period of this plant starts in September: that’s when you have to start to water it, once every 3-4 days, waiting until the soil is completely dry before each watering.

Propagation:

Propagation can be made through leaves cutting. It’s sufficient to cut a leaf and put it into the soil in September, when the growth season of this plant begins.

Curiosity:

The name “Chereidopsis” comes from “Cheiris”, a greek word which means “sleeve”. That’s because, during the summer, the old dried leaves group in a bunch similar to a sleeve that protect the plant from the intense sunlight.

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