Anacampseros rufescens cv. Sunrise (Haw.) Sweet
Growth Habits: Anacampseros form small clumps of succulent rosettes that in the normal species are mid to dark green, but can take on a reddish to purple tinge if kept in bright light. They develop a small caudex with age and older plants can become a little straggly and untidy. This particularly cultivar is quite striking. Most plants that have little chlorophyll in their make-up are usually difficult to keep alive, but in my experience this little beauty is not a problem. White filamentous hairs along the stems (these can be just seen in the photograph) are a give away when trying to ID Anacampseros,
Scientific name: Anacampseros rufescens
Synonym: Ruelingia rufescens, Anacampseros arachnoides, Anacampseros rubens
Etymology: I am struggling a little with this one. The only reference I have found so far is the Greek "anacamptein" which means to return and "Eros" which means love. Some of the plant material was at one time used in love filters [potions] Rowley agrees that the genus name is from the ancient use as an aphrodisiac. Rufescens when related to plant material can mean a red flower. Iann says that in this case the species name rufescens refers to the leaves shading to red.
Origin: South Africa (Karoo)
Light: The original species and its cultivars all prefer a light shade.
Compost: A fairly rich compost suits this plant, but remember to keep the compost open with the addition of chicken grit or similar material.
Water: Average water in the summer months.
Flower: The 2in. (5cm.) rose pink flowers usually open in mid afternoon and can be quite striking on close inspection. The inflorescence is 4 inches tall (10 cm)
Fruit: The flowers are self-fertile and produce seeds in a small cup-like fruit.
Min. temp: Hardy to 34°F (1°C)
Cultivation: This plant is dormant in winter and a minimum temperature of 40°f. is adequate. If the plant is kept at a warmer temperature a little water once a month will help to keep the plant from shrivelling.
Habitat: The area from which the plant comes is a vast region with many micro climates within it, differing soils etc., but it is mostly a barren landscape with sparse vegetation. Annual rainfall totals 260 mm, with the plains being hot in summer, and the mountain areas relatively cool throughout the year. During mid-winter snow occurs regularly on the peaks of the Nuweveld Mountains.
Comments: I like to keep renewing the plant, either by division or sowing seed, but individual leaves will root and form a small plantlet. As I said above the plant can become to look a little untidy and straggly if left to its own devices. The thickened base [caudex] tends to become woody and a little unsightly.
A more in-depth look at individual succulent species, a new one is added each week.
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