Plant of the Month – April 2017

With white flowers in Groenfontein Nature Reserve.

Gibbeaum heathii (L. Bolus 1937) AKA: Hondebal, Hondebalvygie, Bababoudjie.

Distributed in the western Klein Karoo. Blooms in late winter to early spring. Flowers are white to pink variably in single populations. A treasure of our local veld. It is a member of the Aizoaceae family that we generally call Vygies.

Many Vygies grow by going dormant for a period of time and using up the moisture stored in their leaves while growing a new set during that dormant period. They are identified as a group by the type of seed capsules which they share. They can be propagated from mature clumps by removing stems with roots intact from the mother clump. Seeds can be germinated and grown with relative ease.Most of the Gibbeaum genus grow in gravelly loose soil.

It is very fast draining, always. In addition, the root system is a heavy tap root that wants to grow quite deep. One should take care to plant this species in fast draining soil and, if in a pot use a very deep one, thus avoiding the plant’s reputation of easily succumbing to root rot. The plants are available from several of our local specialised nurseries.

Post a comment