Huernia x pendurata
No synonyms are recorded for this name.
Huernia x perdurata, being a nursery hybrid, doesn’t exist in nature. Plants of the genus Huernia, in general, are native to Eastern and Southern Africa, where they thrive in semi-arid habitats, in thickets or under shrubs.
Huernia x perdurata is a nursery hybrid realized between Huernia hystrix and Huernia pendula. Other authors, instead, suggest that it could be an hybrid between H. recondita and H. aspera. The name “perdurata” is commonly used among succulent gardeners but it’s not botanically correct actually. It is a tiny plant, consisting in a bunch of succulent, erect, much branched stems that don’t exceed 20 centimeters in length and grow at ground level, so that the plant, overall, gives the impression to have a prostrate habit. The stems are pale-greyish green and equipped with pointed teeth. Huernias are similar to plants belonging the genera Orbea, Piaranthus, Tavaresia and Stapelia: phylogenetic studies have proved, in fact, that Huernia is monophyletic and closely related to these genera. As it happens in Stapelia and these other genera, Huernias are mainly appreciated and sought after for the peculiarity of their odd flowers, with their funnel-shaped corolla in which the petals are fused together in five, triangular lobes coloured in beautiful patterns, often crimson red and yellow. In the case of Huernia pendurata, flowers are cup-shaped as the lobes are curved backwards (unlike other Huernias that are more star-shaped, with their lobes pointing outwards). Another oddity of flowers of Huernia x pendurata is that the entire flowers is covered in dense spines, like little tubercles. Like all the Stapeliad flowers, in H. x pendurata flowers are pollinated by flies and thus smell bad, like carrions or excrements, to attract these kind of insects.
Huernia x pendurata is not difficult to grow. Put it in full sun all year round except from Summer, when we advice to avoid a direct exposition to sunlight during the hottest hours of the day. If you live in a warm climate, where temperature don’t drop below 5ºC, you can keep your Huernia x pendurata outdoors, as long as you put it in full sun during the Winter. If you live in an area with a more rigid climate, put it indoors whenever the temperatures fall below 5ºC. Water it sparingly, waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation: rainwater is ideal. In Summer, the plant will thrive in a dry season with occasional heavy rains. Keep it dry in Winter to avoid stem and root rot. Some gardeners appreciate the longer, snake.like stems induced by excess of water. Choose a very well-draining substrate: a cactus mix or a standard substrate enriched in perlite will do good. Repotting is usually necessary every two years. They may enjoy (but it’s not indispensable) some fertiliser in Summer: choose a product for succulent plant and use half the doses recommended in the label, diluting it with water.
The easiest way to propagate Huernia x pendurata is, undoubtely, stem cuttings, however it’s also possible to use sowing. Cutting should be left to dry up for a day before being planted. Just lie them on gritty compost, without burying them. Sowing, instead, should be carried out in Spring, in moist, sandy peat moss, barely covering them.
Huernias were named after the dutch missionaire Justin Heurnius, who’s considered the first collector of succulent plants from the Cape of Good Hope.
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