ISI 2002-39. Umbilicus rupestris (Salisb.) Dandy

The genus Umbilicus is a ubiquitous component of the Mediterranean floras of Europe but includes some 18 species whose range extends to SW Asia and the mountains of Africa. Their delightful, succulent, umbrella-like leaves look rather like a tiny cartoon version of a water lily. The small yellowish green flowers are borne in spike-like racemes in spring. These are intermediate in showiness between the typical, colorful, perennial Crassulaceae and the very nondescript annual members of the family. Umbilicus may behave as facultative annuals but if summer drought is not too severe will emerge again from a perennial rootstock when winter rains resume. The dried inflorescences persist and sprinkle seeds for some time as they shake in the wind. We offer second generation seedlings of HBG 54478, from seed originally collected by the late Mary Bleck on the Greek island of Rhodes. $5.

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Photo © 2002 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 74 (2), March - April, 2002