FENESTRARIA

These much sought-after plants are natives of Namaqualand. The genus consists of 2 species of low-growing plants formed from a large number of erect club-shaped leaves, greenish-white in colour and having a distinct translucent “window”. The plants in their natural environ-ment are buried in the sand, and only the windowed tops of the leaves are to be seen. When grown under cultivation, and not under natural conditions, the plants should not be buried, for they are very liable to rot when the atmosphere contains much more moisture than in their native regions. The chief growing period is from early March throughout the summer months; during this period they should not be watered too frequently, and in winter they should be kept dry. Both species resent repotting, and if this is necessary great care should be exercised.

Fenestrana aurantiaca. The plants form cushions of many leaves, which are about an inch long. The leaves are not compressed into I or 2 lobes, but remain independent and form a rosette; they are club-shaped and gently curved upwards, with a convex top of a somewhat triangular shape. The window admits light to the heart of the plant, nature s adaptation so that sunlight can only penetrate to the chlorophyll by filtering through the “windows”. The species produces orange-yellow flowers in August.

Fenestraria rhopalophylla. Very much like F. aurantiaca, except that the leaves are flatter at the top and shorter and more club-shaped. The flowers are white.

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