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Sempervivum Tectorum

iPhoneOgraphy – 19 Jan 2016 (Day 19/366)

Sempervivum (U.S. sem-per-VEE-vum) is a genus of about 40 species of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae Family, commonly known as houseleeks. Other common names include liveforever (the source of the taxonomical designation Sempervivum, literally “always/forever alive”) and hen and chicks, a name shared with plants of other genera as well. They are succulent perennials forming mats composed of tufted leaves in rosettes. In favourable conditions they spread rapidly via offsets, and several species are valued in cultivation as groundcover for dry, sunny locations.

The name Sempervivum has its origin in the Latin semper (“always”) and vivus (“living”), because this perennial plant keeps its leaves in winter and is very resistant to difficult conditions of growth. The common name “houseleek” is believed to stem from the traditional practice of growing plants on the roofs of houses to ward off fire and lightning strikes. Some Welsh people still hold the old folk belief that having it grow on the roof of the house ensures the health and prosperity of those who live there. The plant is not closely related to the true leek, which belongs to the onion family.

Other common names reflect the plant’s ancient association with Thor, the Norse god of thunder, and the Roman Jupiter. Hence names such as “Jupiter’s beard” and the German Donnerbart (“thunder beard”).

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Haworthia Fasciata

iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Jan 2016 (Day 18/366)

Haworthia fasciata is a species of succulent plant from the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Rare in cultivation; most plants that are labelled as Haworthia fasciata are actually Haworthia Attenuata.

The plants are generally small, less than 10 cm (4 in) high. The triangular shaped leaves are green with narrow white crested strips on the outside. At the end of the leaf is a non acute spine. The summer flowers appear in October and November, on the end of an inflorescence.

The species has similar markings to Haworthia Attenuata, which is commonly grown as a house plant. The two are therefore frequently confused with each other, and a great many H.attenuata specimens are mislabelled as the rarer H.fasciata.

However Haworthia fasciata is rare in cultivation, and can easily be distinguished by the smooth upper (ie. inner) surfaces of its leaves. Its white tubercles occur only on the lower (outer) sides of its leaves; whereas H.attenuata has roughness or tubercles on both sides of its leaves. The leaves of H.fasciata are also stouter, more deltoid, and fibrous inside. They tend to curve inwards more. Unlike H.attenuata, older H.fasciata specimens also develop long columnal stems.

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