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Origin and Habitat: South Africa, Western Cape (Vredendal to Bitterfontein).
Habitat and Ecology: Succulent Karoo (Knersvlakte Quartz Vygieveld, Knersvlakte Shale Vygieveld). Eriospermum titanopsoides grows in the open, on quartz patches on gentle slopes of low koppies, among whitish stones overlaying very decomposed sandstone and on shale flats on the Knersvlakte in arid winter rainfall areas more or less devoid of other vegetation except red-flowered Gladiolus and a few succulent shrubs. This species is locally, quite common and it has been recorded at four locations, but hard to see.. It is potentially threatened by overgrazing and mining. The population trend is stable.
- Eriospermum titanopsoides P.L.Perry
Description: Eriospermum titanopsoides is a dwarf, winter growing, tuberous plant with a solitary, hysteranthous leaf (that expands after the flowers have opened). The small leaf is very peculiar, with crisped margin covered with silvery tubercles, as in the genus Titanopsis (hence the specific name). The peduncle and inflorescence are especially small (less than 30 mm) and the white tepals are not so obviously dimorphic as in most other members of the subgenus Eriospermum.
Tuber: Small, solitary, oblong, more or less irregular in shape, to 15 mm long, 10 mm in diameter. The skin is thin, the is interior pink. The growing point is basal with a lateral groove. The old leaf sheaths is less than 25 mm long and 1.5 mm diameter.
Leaves: Hysteranthous, solitary, contemporary leaf sheath barely exserted. Lamina prostrate but not adpressed to the ground, ovate, 9-20 mm long and 5-12 mm wide, folded, succulent, both surfaces glaucous, margin hickened, deeply undulate and involute and wrinkled, epidermis covered with glassy papillae, base subpeltate, apex obtuse.
Inflorescence: Peducle to 12 mm long and 1 mm diameter, very pale green, glabrous. Peduncular bract not exserted. Raceme broadly conical to sub-corymbose, up to 18 mm long anf 25-30 mm in diameter. Bracts narrowly triangular, p 1.5 mm long, close to the pedicels, pale green with fine red dots. Pedicels up to 12 mm long, pale green to white.
Flower: Ascending, almost triangular in outline,not fully spreading, white with green mid-veins, to 9 mm in diameter. Tepals dimorphic, white with a pale green midvein and very faint red towards the apex, fussed for about 1 mm at the base. Outer tepals elliptic to oblanceolate to5.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide with the sides slightly bent inwards. Inner tepals erect but not hiding the stamens, widening to apex, 5 mm long, 2 mm wide. Filaments connate to base of tepals for up to 1 mm, ovate to triangular-oblong, fleshy, white, about 2 mm long and 1 mm at the base gradually tapering to the anther, the outer slightly wider, the inner slightly longer. Anthers oval, 0.8 mm long, yellow. Ovary ovoid, 2 mm in diameter, pale green with red dots. Style to 1.8 mm long white, becoming pale yellow towards the stigma.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Domitilla Raimondo “Red list of South African plants 2009” South African National Biodiversity Institute, 2009
2) Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. “Red data list of southern African plants”. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
3) Perry, P.L. 1994. “A revision of the genus Eriospermum (Eriospermaceae)” Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 17:1-320.
4) Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. “Red List of South African Plants”. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
5) Helme, N.A., Archer, C. & Victor, J.E. 2006. Eriospermum titanopsoides P.L.Perry. “National Assessment: Red List of South African” Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2017/07/31
6) "Eriospermum titanopsoides P.L.Perry" in: eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org/taxon/urn:kew.org:wcs:taxon:305721
7) Perry, P.Lesley “Original publication of Eriospermum titanopsoides.” 17, (1994).
8) Holotype of Eriospermum titanopsoides P.L.Perry [family ERIOSPERMACEAE] http://plants.jstor.org/stable/history/10.5555/al.ap.specimen.nbg0150803-0
Eriospermum titanopsioides. Seedlings. Photo by: © Plantemania
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