ISI 2016-20. Petopentia natalensis (Schlechter) Bullock

Sometimes seen under the invalidly published name Fockea natalensis, this is now considered the only member of the genus Petopentia. Somewhat confusing is the etymology of the name, which is an anagram of Pentopetia in which the species was once included. It forms vigorous vines with glossy, lanceolate leaves to 12 cm (5") long and 2.5 cm (1") wide. A distinctive and attractive feature is the coloration of the leaves, green above and rich purple below. The new vines are a similar purple color and emerge from a caudex covered with flaky, light-brown bark. The caudex is typically partly exposed in nature so the plant seems pre-adapted to cultivation as a caudiciform with all of its charms exposed above ground. We have not grown this plant outdoors for long but so far it seems to be hardy to our occasional light frosts and winter rain, retaining its foliage most of the year. HBG 126032, $7.

Photo © 2016 by Karen Zimmerman. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 88 (3), May-June, 2016