Jordaaniella dubia

Jordaaniella anemoniflora (L.Bolus) Van Jaarsv. [ = Cephalophyllum anemoniflorum (L.Bolus) N.E.Br. (Van Jaarsveld 2001)]

Family: Mesembryanthemaceae (Aizoaceae)
Common names:
helder kruipvygie, matvygie (Afr.)

Jordaaniella anemoniflora

These two very attractive mesembs, one of which is widespread and the other extinct in its natural habitat, can be grown in sunny coastal gardens as they are perfect water-wise plants for such an environment.

J.dubiaPerennial, creeping succulents with succulent leaves and large, solitary flowers. J. anemoniflora has large white to pink flowers and linear glaucous leaves. In contrast, J. dubia is a slightly smaller species with club-shaped leaves and yellow flowers. Both species have characteristic, many-chambered fruit with seeds that are dispersed by rain.

Distribution and Habitat
The rare and distinct J. anemoniflora used to occur in openings in Dune Thicket (Low & Rebelo 1996) (Strandveld), on the light orange, coastal sandy flats between Macassar and Strand, near Cape Town. The more widespread J. dubia is known from white sands in Dune Thicket along the coastal strip from Hermanus to Lambert's Bay. A third species, J. maritima (L.Bolus) Van Jaarsv.[ = Cephalophyllum maritimum (L.Bolus) Schwantes (Van Jaarsveld 2001)], occurs further east to Still Bay. It is the smallest of the species and is variable in flower colour, and although the majority have purplish flowers, orange and yellow-flowering forms also occur (Van Jaarsveld 2001).

Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus Jordaaniella was named for Professor Pieter Gerhardus Jordaan (1913-1987), Professor of Botany at the University of Stellenbosch (Smith et al. 1998) in 1984, by a world-renowned mesemb botanist, Dr H.E.K. (Hartmann with four species, one of which was J.dubia . However, three species previously included in the concept of J. dubia are now recognised as distinct; J.dubia , J.anemoniflora and J.maritima. (van Jaarsveld (2001). Anemoniflora indicates that the flower resembles an anemone and dubia means doubtful, not confirming to type.

In 1992, the last natural population of J. anemoniflora was removed from its habitat when it was bulldozed to make way for urban expansion at Macassar, west of the Strand (Van Jaarsveld 2001). Fortunately, the threatened plants were successfully re-introduced into natural Dune Thicket vegetation at the military base northwest of Macassar (Van Jaarsveld 2001).

Flower colour polymorphism (species that have different-coloured flowers) can have survival value when pollinators are scarce. In Namaqualand, species of Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (bokbaaivygie) may have several different colour morphs dominating. This may depend on rainfall, and other ecological factors that may influence pollinator number. Small flying insects such as bees, butterflies and moths pollinate mesemb flowers. In the case of Jordaaniella, the species were probably thought to be different-coloured populations of the same species. However, J. anemoniflora and J. dubia have been growing together in cultivation for years and are known not to hybridize. This lack of crossing supports their status as a distinct species.

Future conservation of this species in the wild will depend upon the maintenance of the newly developed City of Cape Town Biodiversity Network (City of Cape Town 2003). Macassar forms a key part of the network and has been recommended for conservation in a recent management plan (Chittenden Nicks De Villiers 2002).

Uses and cultural aspects
Although some mesemb species have medicinal uses e.g. Carpobrotus, none are known for species of Jordaaniella. Its main use is in its attractive flowers and ease of growth for groundcover in sandy gardens, particularly along the coast of the winter rainfall region of South Africa.

Growing Jordaaniella dubia and J. anemoniflora

The species of Jordaaniella discussed above thrive in sandy places. They are extremely easy to cultivate and can be grown from cuttings or from seed. It is sufficient to just simply plant the cuttings, with autumn being the best time (after the first rains). No additional watering or nutrients are required. They are most satisfying at flowering time between July and September when they make an impressive and colourful addition to a water-wise coastal garden.

References and further reading

  • Chittenden Nicks de Villiers. 2002. Macassar Dunes Management Plan (2001). Chittenden Nicks de Villiers, Cape Town.
  • City of Cape Town. 2003. Biodiversity Network. City of Cape Town, Cape Town.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Wild flowers of the fairest Cape. Red Roof Design in association with the National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.
  • Hartmann, H.E.K. 1984. Monographien der Subtribus Leipoldtiinae 6. Monographie der Gattung Jordaaniella (Mesembryanthemaceae). Botanische Jahrbücher 104: 321-360.
  • Hartmann, H.E.K. 2001. Illustrated handbook of succulent plants. Aizoaceae F-Z. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
  • Low, A.B. & Rebelo, A.G. (eds). 1996. Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria.
  • Manning, J. & Goldblatt, P. 1996. West Coast. South African Wild Flower Guide 7. Botanical Society of South Africa, Cape Town.
  • Smith, G.F., Chesselet, P., Van Jaarsveld, E.J., Hartmann, H., Hammer, S., Van Wyk, B-E., Burgoyne, P., Klak, C. & Kurzweil, H. 1998. Mesembs of the world. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
  • Van Jaarsveld, E.J. 2001. South African succulent plants: two new species and two new combinations. Haseltonia 8: 37-41.


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