Cheiridopsis cigarettifera is a mat-forming dwarf succulent of stony flats and slopes in Namaqualand. Leaf colour that is pale greyish-blue here may be green after rain. Tiny translucent spots are sometimes visible on fresh leaf surfaces. An opposing pair of similar succulent leaves grow from the space between the previous pair. The leaf pair faces in a direction at right angles to the predecessor pair as seen from above. Consecutive pairs do not necessarily appear similar in shape or size.
What each leaf pair does for its successor, is to leave their shared outer skin as a protective covering for the newcomers to live through their coming hot, arid season. Remnants of these old papery leaf sheaths can still be seen here, but the spring flowering season is over. These leaves can be seen to have already started shrivelling into dry tissue, from which two fresh leaf tips will appear when the rain comes.
The specific name of cigarettifera was conferred on account of the old leaf sheaths resembling cigarette holders. Cheiridopsis cigarettifera flowers are pale yellow with a whorl of narrow petals around the stamen cluster. The flower is about 4 cm in diameter. The seed capsule that follows has about 10 locules (Smith, et al, 1998).
|There are no comments for this image yet.|