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Origin and Habitat: Eriospermum appendiculatum is only known from two locations in the Steytlerville Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Habitat and Ecology: This species grows in succulent karoo shrubland, quartzite colluvium on river terraces. Flowering time: March. Leafing time: April to October It is potentially threatened by overgrazing and habitat degradation as a result of high densities of cattle in this area. The population trend is stable.
- Eriospermum appendiculatum A.V.Duthie
Description: Eriospermum appendiculatum is a dwarf plant with a small solitary, hysteranthous leaf (that expands after the flowers have opened). Inflorescence about 9 cm high. The small leaf is very peculiar, with upper surface bearing few to several enations (scaly leaflike appendages) mainly towards the margins of varying lengths, crowned with a tuft of 20-30 white hairs. The plants are winter growing with a freely rooting potato-like tuber.
Tuber: Small to medium sized, pale brown, irregularly lobed or unlobed with a basal growing point. Flesh semitransparent purplish-red.
Leaf: Solitary, prostrate ovate to roundish or heart shaped up to 18 mm wide and 20 mm long. Lower surface paler than upper one, glabrous. Upper surface bearing simple, enations mainly towards the margins, of varying lengths up to 5 mm long and about 1 mm wide, crowned with a stellate tuft of 20-30 white hairs of varying lengths up to 1 .5 mm; margin with similar tufts of hairs.
Inflorescence: Peduncle 70 mm long. Raceme 18 mm long, with 3 flowers. Pedicels up to 6 mm long.
Flowers: Triangular, up to 8 mm diameter, white with a pale green midnerve. Filaments apparently, white. Ovary globose, pale green. Style cylindrical, a little shorter than the ovary.
Similar species: E. appendiculatum is strictly related to Eriospermum dregei which occurs in the same area. It has shorter and simpler, enations mainly towards the edge of the lamina, whereas the juvenile leaves of E. dregei have the stellate hair clusters covering the upper surface
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Pauline L. Perry "A Revision of the Genus Eriospermum (Eriospermaceae)" Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town, 1994
2) A.V. Duthie, "Contribution to Our Knowledge of the Genus Eriospermum", vol. 18, Ann. Univ. Stellenbosch (1940) (sect. A no. 2)
3) Stefan Vogel, Ute Muller-Doblies, "Desert geophytes under dew and fog: The 'curly-whirlies' of Namaqualand (South Africa)", in: "Flora - Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants", Volume 206, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 3-31
4) Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. "Red data list of southern African plants". Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
5) Perry, P.L. 1994. "A revision of the genus Eriospermum (Eriospermaceae)" Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 17:1-320.
6) 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.
7) Victor, J.E. and Dold, A.P. 2003. "Threatened plants of the Albany Centre of Floristic Endemism, South Africa". South African Journal of Science 99:437-446.
8) Raimondo, D. & Helme, N.A. 2007. Eriospermum appendiculatum A.V.Duthie. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2017/11/28
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