Caudiciform succulents of Richtersveld: Crassulaceae and Portulacaceae

From 5 to 9 September 2012 

The Namaqualand region in South Africa, including the arid desert of Richtersveld, hosts a large number of succulent plants belonging to the families of Crassulaceae (Crassula), Portulacaceae (Avonia, Anacampseros) and Euphorbiaceae. You can also observe several caudiciform plants, that store the water into a bulk "caudex" at the base of the stem.

Tylecodon paniculatus
Photos of Tylecodon paniculatus. The Tylecodon paniculatus is an oddly-shaped succulent having a caudiciform stem adapted to store large amounts of water reserves.
Juvenile Tylecodon paniculatus Tylecodon cortex
More pictures of Tylecodon paniculatus. In the left picture, a juvenile Tylecodon growing under the protection of another succulent. On the right picture, a close-up on the stem and its bark.
Cotyledon reticulata Tylecodon reticulatus
Tylecodon picture. The Tylecodon reticulatus, called also Cotyledon reticulata is a small succulent having an oddly shaped stem with leaves attached directly to it.
Tylecodon wallichii
Tylecodon photo. In the picture above, a Tylecodon wallichii.
Succulent pelargonium Caudiciform pelargonium

A rare Pelargonium that has adapted to the arid conditions of Namaqualand and the Richtersveld desert, developing a particularly succulent stem which acts as a water reservoir.
Sarcocaulon ciliatum Sarcocaulon flower
Sarcocaulon pictures. The Sarcocaulon is a succulent belonging to the family of Geraniaceae, which consists in a dense spiny bush.
Quartz desert
This small stretch of quartz is the ideal place for some small succulents belonging to genus Avonia and Anacampseros (family of Portulacaceae). The distribution of these plants is limited only to those stretches of quartz, which are not very numerous. These species are vulnerable because of their limited distribution area, moreover threatened by the mining and grazing.
Anacampseros Avonia
Anacampseros albissima Avonia albissima
Photos of Avonia albissima. The Avonia albissima is a succulent plant having tiny stems protected by waxy white structures perfectly camouflaged among the pebbles of quartz. The Avonia albissima is also sometimes classified as Anacampseros albissima.
Crassula muscosa
A Crassula locally known as lizard's tail (Crassula muscosa, family of Crassulaceae).
Anacampseros crinita Anacampseros filamentosa
Anacampseros baeseckei

Anacampseros picture. The Anacampseros are tiny succulent plants belonging to the family of Portulacaceae, characterized by white filaments protecting the steam and the leaves. Endemic species of Namaqualand and in particular of the Richtersveld, include Anacampseros baeseckei, Anacampseros filamentous and Anacampseros crinita.
Crassula Succulent plant
Succulent Crassulacea
Succulents pictures belonging to the family of Crassulaceae. In South Africa, particularly in Namaqualand and in Richtersveld desert, there are many different species of Crassula and other succulents belonging to the same family.
Crassula deceptor
Picture of Crassula deceptor. A Crassula deceptor growing near a Conophytum.
Crassula deceptor picture

More pictures of Crassula deceptor.
Flowers of Stapelia Stapelia in flower
Some Crassula growing protected by the shadow of rocks and other plants.
Euphorbia virosa
Pictures of Euphorbia virosa. The Euphorbia virosa is native to South Africa and Namibia and is quite common in Namaqualand, particularly in the desert of Richtersveld. The plant belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae and contains a poisonous latex (from here the name "virosa" deriving from Latin) used by native people to poison the tips of arrows.
Euphorbia gorgonis Euphorbia flower
Picture of Euphorbia gorgonis. The Euphorbia gorgonis is a succulent plant belonging to the family of Euphorbiaceae, equipped with a large caudex sometimes completely buried, sometimes emerging from soil, forming a stem of abnormal size. On the tip of the caudex there is crown of branches and flowers.
Euphorbiacea Euphorbia seeds
Picture of succulent belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. The seeds are contained in small capsules present at the apex of the branches.

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Namaqualand and Richtersveld travel guide

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