CONOPHYTUM

The genus is a most important one, for it contains some of the most interesting of the succulent plants. They are of dwarf habit, usually stemless, but some species form stems when old. The growths consist of small fleshy bodies which may be conical, spherical, ovate, or almost cylindrical, and are formed of two united leaves. In the centre of the upper part of the united leaves will be found a fissure, which may be very short or extend across the top. A solitary flower appears in this fissure on a stalk 5 to I inch in length. The flowers may be white, yellow, pink, or violet. New bodies of Conophytums are formed within the old ones. They gradually withdraw the material from the old body till nothing remains but a dry skin, which encloses the young body and protects it during the dry period. Growth starts about August, when the plants require moisture. The period of growth lasts only for a few weeks, after which water must be restricted and the plants kept drier. In March, when the new bodies begin to form, some water can be given, but from May to August water should be entirely withheld, even if the bodies shrivel. The genus comprises over 200 species, all of which are extremely interesting.

Conophytum altile. Tufted plants, somewhat spherical, of a shining green, tinted purplish at the base, and marked on top with rather large dark green dots, those around the fissure at the edge of the surface almost forming a line.

Conophytum albescens. Stemless, and tufted. The bodies are laterally compressed or round, indented on top, pale grey-green indistinctly marked with large transparent dots, with the tips of the lobes tinged red. The flower is yellow.

Conophytum Batesii. Forms small tufts, the bodies small, grey-green in colour and reddish at the base; the upper surface has a few dark dots.

Conophytum Braunsii. Forms short stems; the upper surface circular and slightly convex, outlined with a dark line. The flowers are violet.

Conophytum bilobum. A stemless plant, becoming branched and tufted when old. One of the larger species, pale grey-green in colour, with yellow flowers.

Conophytum continuum. Forms clumps. The upper surface is usually circular, flat, and slightly convex, the bodies blue-green, and marked on the upper surface with darker dots.

Conophytum Elishae. Has blue-green bodies which grow to I| inches long and terminate in a keeled cleft top. The species increases quickly and eventually forms an attractive clump. The flowers are bright yellow.

Conophytum ficiforme. Forms clumps of greyish-green bodies, often tinted with purple at the base, with conspicuous dark green dots on the top. The flower is bright pink and slightly scented.

Conophytum Meyerae. The bodies reach a height of 2 inches. The lobes are I inch long, with the inner side flat; the angles of the inner sides of the lobes are marked with a line of dots, and the surface is covered with small dark dots. Flowers, yellow.

Conophytum minutum. The clumps formed are roundish, greyish-green, without markings. The flowers are pale violet-red and produced regularly.

Conophytum Purpusii. Forms low clumps; the bodies are conical, bluish-grey-green, with the upper surface papillose and marked with small dark dots. Flowers, pale yellow.

Conophytum saxetanum. Forms clumps; the green bodies numerous and close togethei, rounded above. The flowers are whitish.

Conophylum truncatellum. Forms clumps; the bodies are compressed, truncate, almost circular above, pale grey-green, with numerous small dots.

Conophytum Tischeri. Forms clumps; the bodies rounded, somewhat depressed above, the fissure surrounded by an irregular dark zone; grey-green with dark dots. Flowers, pale lilac.

Conophytum velutinum. The bodies are thick, ob-ovate, bluish-green, rather indistinctly sprinkled with dark green dots. Flowers, magenta.

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