Othonna

Family: Asteraceae
Habitat: South Africa and Namibia (for most species).
Cultivation: The approximately 100 species of Othonna grow in different habitats and therefore have different needs. In general, prefer a half-sun exposure, use a draining soil and remember that they have a vegetative rest in the summer – so watering during this season should be scarce.
Curiosity: Othonna is a member of the Asteraceae family, which includes many plants with daisy-like flowers. The name of the genus, in fact, comes from the Greek Aster, that is Star. The genus name Othonna, instead, is probably from the Greek word, othonne, for linen or cloth, referring to the soft leaves of some species.

KEY FEATURES

Plants of the genus Othonna are part of the family Asteraceae and are, therefore, close relatives of sunflowers and other flowering plants. They are very similar to Senecio and differ from it only for few details.

The genus Othonna includes 90 species, excluding the recently segregated genus Crassothonna.
Othonnas are succulent or sub-succulent perennial herbs or shrubs with more or less dorsiventrally flattened leaves, radiate or disciform flower head (the typical flower of the Asteraceae family) with female-sterile flowers and female marginal flowers, with a beige or reddish pappus. The genus is characterised by the presence of undivided (or minutely bifid) styles in flower heads.

Their leaves are often succulent, elongated, with different shapes, sometimes very decorative. When deciduous, however, there is usually a woody stem equipped with a caudex – an enlarged swelling at the base of the stems that has the function of a water and nutrients supply.

In general, the peculiarities of the stems and the leaves are the main reason why so many Othonna species are so much in demand.

On the contrary, the daisy-like flowers, however pretty and colored in a lively yellow, do not interest succulent enthusiasts. This is because they have a very common form, so much to be among those ironically indicated in English with the acronym “DYC” (“Damned Yellow Composite”, a way to indicate those plants with the “usual yellow compound flowers”, common and not very interesting).

VARIETY AND TYPES

Here are a few Othonna species. Look for them in out online shop!

  • O. abrotanifolia
  • O. acutiloba
  • O. alata
  • O. alba
  • O. amplexifolia
  • O. arborescens
  • O. arbuscula
  • O. armiana
  • O. auriculifolia
  • O. brandbergensis
  • O. bulbosa
  • O. burttii
  • O. cacalioides
  • O. cakilefolia
  • O. campanulata
  • O. capensis
  • O. carnosa
  • O. chromochaeta
  • O. ciliata
  • O. clavifolia
  • O. coronopifolia
  • O. cuneata
  • O. cyclophylla
  • O. cylindrica
  • O. decurrens
  • O. dentata
  • O. digitata
  • O. divaricata
  • O. diversifolia
  • O. elliptica
  • O. eriocarpa
  • O. euphorbioides
  • O. filicaulis
  • O. floribunda
  • O. frutescens
  • O. furcata
  • O. graveolens
  • O. gymnodiscus
  • O. hallii
  • O. hederifolia
  • O. herrei
  • O. heterophylla
  • O. huillensis
  • O. humilis
  • O. incisa
  • O. intermedia
  • O. lasiocarpa
  • O. laureola
  • O. lepidocaulis
  • O. leptodactyla
  • O. lineariifolia
  • O. lingua
  • O. lobata
  • O. lyrata
  • O. macrophylla
  • O. macrosperma
  • O. membranifolia
  • O. mucronata
  • O. multicaulis
  • O. nana
  • O. natalensis
  • O. nodulosa
  • O. obtusiloba
  • O. oleracea
  • O. opima
  • O. osteospermoides
  • O. ovalifolia
  • O. pachypoda
  • O. papaveroides
  • O. parviflora
  • O. patula
  • O. pavelkae
  • O. pavonia
  • O. perfoliata
  • O. petiolaris
  • O. pinnata
  • O. plantaginea
  • O. pluridentata
  • O. primulina
  • O. protecta
  • O. pteronioides
  • O. purpurascens
  • O. pygmaea
  • O. quercifolia
  • O. quinquedentata
  • O. quinqueradiata
  • O. ramulosa
  • O. rechingeri
  • O. reticulata
  • O. retrofracta
  • O. retrorsa
  • O. rhamnoides
  • O. rosea
  • O. rotundifolia
  • O. rufibarbis
  • O. sedifolia
  • O. semicalva
  • O. sonchifolia
  • O. sparsiflora
  • O. spinescens
  • O. stenophylla
  • O. taraxacoides
  • O. tephrosioides
  • O. tortuosa
  • O. trinervia
  • O. triplinervia
  • O. umbelliformis
  • O. vestita
  • O. viminea
  • O. whyteana
  • O. zeyheri

TIPS FOR GROWING

The approximately 100 species of Othonna grow in different habitats and therefore have different needs . These cultivation tips, however, will suit most species:

  • Prefer a half-sun exposure, to maintain the leaves shielded from direct sun rays.
  • These plants are used to warm climates and not very high temperature ranges. In general, the minimum temperature must remain above 10 ° C.
  • Water especially in Spring and Autumn, which are the moments of major development and/or flowering. Like many plants from the southern hemisphere, they enter dormancy in summer and need moderate watering.
  • Use a standard succulent soil or a mix of peat and sand/light gravel. Whatever the case, it should be draining and not too nutritious.
  • Fertilize only in spring and summer once every 15 days or so, using half of the doses recommended on the packages.
  • The necessities of repotting varies according to the species considered.

The most suitable propagation method to choose depends on the species. The species with succulent leaves usually respond well to stem or leaf cuttings, while, in the species equipped with caudex, the main risk is that the new plant will take root but will not be able to form the caudex, so we recommend sowing for caudiciform Othonnas.

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