Aptenia haeckeliana

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MikeHardman

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Aptenia haeckeliana
« on: June 24, 2016, 09:00:09 PM »
Well here's a thing...

I have plenty of patches of Aptenia cordifolia in my garden, all started from a few cuttings some years ago, all looking much the same - the typical red flowers. See photo. I have not had any self-sown Aptenias.

Recently, by my shed, I noticed a new little specimen growing in the gravel. I didn't think much of it. I presumed it must have begun from a fragment that had dropped there, probably from my occasional passing wheelbarrow full of prunings.
Then it flowered.
...Yellow! (see photo)

I read on the internet that it is, supposedly, Aptenia haeckeliana.
...A different species.
Something's not right.
This is the only yellow-flowered Aptenia I have seen since moving to Cyprus in 2009. That is, I have not seen another one in any gardens I have visited, let alone filched a bit and forgotten I had done so.

It appears I am not alone in initially thinking this plant to be a yellow-flowered variety of A. cordifolia. But folks expressing such thoughts on the WWW are usually corrected in the direction of A. haeckeliana.

So...
Has the species Aptenia haeckeliana spontaneously re-arisen in my garden?
Or, is there a yellow-flowered variety of A. cordifolia? (which may have spontaneously re-arisen in my garden)
Or, did my plant arise from seed, finding its way into my garden by unknown means?

What does team MGS think?

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Joanna Savage

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Re: Aptenia haeckeliana
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016, 06:17:47 AM »
Hello Mike, well, that is an interesting observation. Might it be genetics at work? An example of two red flowered plants crossing and one only, of the many progeny has been dealt all recessive genes, thus losing the dominant red gene? The runt of the litter, so to speak. Does the yellow flowered plant seem weaker in stature than the red?
Another possibility might be a spontaneous mutation in the cross.
If it is growing near a building foundation there might be an adverse physiological reaction from substances in the ground. Or might the yellow plant have received just a whiff of herbicide.

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Alisdair

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Re: Aptenia haeckeliana
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2016, 08:01:13 AM »
Fascinating, Mike. I'd lean towards Joanna's first two possibilities, rather than herbicide damage. You can look forward to some happy years of breeding to test out which of those two possibilities is the solution  ;). Yellow recessive offspring from red-flowered plants do seem to be weaker, but yours looks just as robust, so perhaps odds on the sport theory?
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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MikeHardman

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Re: Aptenia haeckeliana
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 12:36:06 PM »
Joanna and Alisdair,
Thanks for your thoughts.

It is not due to artificial chemicals such as weedkillers. The plant has been growing steadily ever since I first noticed it, which was well after the last time I weedkillered the area. I have no reason to suspect other abnormal chemicals in the location. Weeds pop-up in the same spot and around it, showing no sign of abnormality.

The plant is perhaps even more vigorous than the red flowered sort.

I shall give pieces to friends, so we have clonal plants in different locations to monitor.

I shall be interested to see if any fruit appear, noting:
"flowers are followed by a fruit of variable shape to 4 inches (10 cm) across"
[http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week553.shtml]
Notice, too, that the photos on that page show flowers including hints of orange.
...Makes me wonder, while we're grasping at straws, if there is a red-flowered A. haeckeliana, and I happened to have some of it, which reverted to being yellow-flowered. Seems far-fetched.

There are two other species of Aptenia:
- A. lancifolia (smaller purple flowers)
- A. geniculiflorais (white to pale yellow flowers, erect deciduous perennial)
[http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/apteniacord.htm]
My plant fits with neither of those.

Further research...
"many of the cultivars of the widely cultivated A. cordifolia are hybrids, probably between A. cordifolia and A. haeckeliana, these often have narrower leaves and reddish - instead of bright pink - flowers (acc. to Gerbaulet)."
[Joachim Thiede, in https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_can_you_distinguish_South_African_Aptenia_cordifolia_from_Aptenia_lancifolia]
So one or more of my red-flowered plants could be a hybrid, which allows the possibility of reversion to a A. haeckeliana parent.

Mike
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 12:37:39 PM by MikeHardman »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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Turi

  • Newbie
Re: Aptenia haeckeliana
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2019, 11:32:40 AM »
Hi, I've two plants of Aptenia with purple flowers. Cordifolia should be the unique with this color of flowers, but one of those is very different from the other. Can you help me know what it is? I attach the photo

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MikeHardman

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Re: Aptenia haeckeliana
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2019, 12:39:04 PM »
Welcome Turi!

From the colour of the petals, your plant looks like A. lancifolia.

But...

The leaves are about the same shape as A. cordifolia. Googling for images of A. lancifolia, one sees a range of leaf shapes - from ones the same shape as A. cordifolia, to much more lanceolate ones.
It is perhaps strange that, whereas A. lancifolia exhibits such a range of leaf shapes, A. cordifolia is so constant. Some sources suggest that some of the strains in cultivation are hybrids (vegetatively propagated). That obviously gives scope for variable characteristics, as we are seeing.

So maybe yours is a hybrid of Aa. cordifolia and lanceolata.
There are other possibilities.

Good discussion on differentiating Aa. cordifolia and lanceolata -
https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_can_you_distinguish_South_African_Aptenia_cordifolia_from_Aptenia_lancifolia
which includes a posting by Joachim Thiede giving part of a key
"
According to the treratment by M. Gerbaulet in the "Illustrated Handbook of Sucuclent Plants. Aizoaceae A - E" (2001), both species key out as follows:
- Internodes 4-angled, leaves heart-shaped, fruits without valve wing... A. cordifolia (flowers bright pink).
- Internodes terete, leaves lanceolate, fruits with valve wings ................. A. lancifolia (flowers pink, inner petals lighter).
"

//Mike
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 12:46:42 PM by MikeHardman »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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Turi

  • Newbie
Re: Aptenia haeckeliana
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2019, 05:30:08 PM »
Thanks, at moment I can check only internode.... when I come back in house verify it....