Yet another distinctive plant that goes by D. lavisiae. Since Olive Hilliard and Bill Burtt are probably the ultimate authorities on the Drakensberg flora, I’d be inclined to go with their determination…except that they are not succulent specialists. So the Jury is out.
The label should allow us to track the collection data.
This doesn’t jibe with any of the taxa we are currently growing in Denver–so I will be interested to see where it originates.
Delosperma cf. cooperi, above summit of Blue Mountain Pass, Lesotho Location: Lesotho, Leribe, Blue Mountain Pass, Makhaleng Valley, Maloti Mountains, Maseru distric Latitude 29° 0′ S, 28° 25′ E. Elevation 2641M (8665′)
Picture taken January, 1994
Delosperma cf. cooperi in my personal garden at Quince
Growing in a sunny spot at Denver Botanic Gardens ca. 1995
The plants above have naturalized in a weedy prairie to the south and west of my house just across the street from Denver in unincorporated Arapahoe county. They look remarkably like the wild plants I first saw in late January of 1994 near Springfontein in the the prairies west of the Drakensberg (Maloti) mountains. This picture taken September 9, 2014.
Springfontein: Latitude -30.26667 and longitude of 25.7. Elevation: 1514 M. (4967′)
Seed first collected in January, 1994 near Springfontein, in the Orange Free State.
A self sown seedling that appeared in a chink of a wall at Denver Botanic Gardens shows the growth habit–slightly shrubby and distinct from most other hardy delospermas.
Type specimen at the Bolus herbarium:
I took this picture in February of 1997 at the type locality of the species–barely a few acres in extent. I returned in 2008 hoping to to see it again and the highway was blocked off by a 10′ fence–that whole portion of the Komsberg is now a game farm. I don’t believe other colonies have ever been found elsewhere: surely one of the rarest Delosperma in nature.
Originally collected in 1989 by John Lavranos on Komsberg Pass in the Northern Cape, specimens were sent by John to Denver Botanic Gardens. Cuttings from these were grown at Huntington Botanic Garden by John Trager, who supplied Steve Hammer with the material that provided the type specimens–an example of how convoluted plant introduction truly can be!
Taken on April 10, 2015 in my home rock garden after a brutal winter.
If the picture looks a bit, well, dated–it is. Scanned from a transparency taken in January of 1994 on top of Platberg, a Nature preserve on the slopes above Harrismith in the Orange Free State. This was taken on my very first foray in the Drakensberg area with Dr. J.P. Roux, now deceased, who had created the Drakensberg Botanic Garden in the town below a decade or more earlier. The Delosperma grew wild on the site of that Garden as well. I have subsequently seen this many places in the Drakensberg proper–although I haven’t scanned slides of it from those areas yet. It is well established in cultivation, including some wonderful color forms, see below.
Type specimen at the Bolus Herbarium, Capetown
A few hundred yards to the West of the ski lodge at Tiffindell, a lush vlei (South African for moist swale) filled with Kniphofia caulescens rises gradually up to rim rock. Here and there scattered among dozens of wonderful alpines, clumps of a large, lusty Delosperma can be found, in full bloom mid January this year.
This is utterly distinct from the much smaller, more delicate delosperma that’s found on the cliffs at Naude’s Nek not far away (shown previously). One of the two is undoubtedly the elusive D. lavisiae, and both have gone by that name, but there are surely two taxa. This larger one is firmly established in cultivation..before we go to those, here’s another picture taken the same day and place: January 16, 2015.
Location: Latitude: -30.65105628463363, Longitude: 27.926387786865234 Elevation: 2810 m. (9219‘)
Photograph taken February 2, 2005
Seed collected by an earlier expedition yielded a number of plants that have been grown widely in the past decade including a clone ‘Tiffindell’ shown below growing in the South African Plaza at Denver Botanic Gardens. It has been mistakenly distributed as Delosperma ‘Tiffendell’ (a mispelling of the Ski Area’s name).