Anacampseros

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Anacampseros
Anacampseros rufescens3 ies.jpg
Anacampseros rufescens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Anacampserotaceae
Genus: Anacampseros
L.
Species

See text.

The flower of Anacampseros rufescens is typical of the genus
Anacampseros subnuda illustrates one of the many variations in habitus within the genus

Anacampseros L. is a genus comprising about a hundred species of small perennial succulent plants native to Southern Africa. The botanical name Anacampseros is an ancient one for herbs supposed to restore lost love.

The Australian species Grahamia australiana was at one time included in the genus Anacampseros, but the entire genus now is regarded as Southern African, and no longer includes any Australian representatives.

Description[edit]

Plants in the genus Anacampseros are perennial. In habit they are small undershrubs or sprawling herbs that may form dense mats. Mature plants of many of the species form a small caudex or a tuberous root-stock. The leaves of most species are succulent and may be either lanceolate in shape or rounded.[1] The arrangement of leaves on a stem is alternate. The leaves in most species are closely spaced, and in some species they are small and more or less hidden by papery or filamentous fascicled stipules. Some species have sessile flowers, often in an involucre. Other species bear their flowers on racemose peduncles. In contrast to the alternately born leaves, the bracts are opposite and scarious. The flowers are actinomorphic with two caducous sepals and five fugacious petals. The petals may be white, pink, or even pale purple. The plants flower from time to time in summer, and open on sunny days only. The numerous stamens are attached to the bases of the petals. The style is split into three. The ovary is superior, and ripens into a three-valved unilocular capsule that contains many seeds on a free-standing central placenta. In some species the three valves are misleadingly split into six valves. The seeds are compressed and may be angled or have three wings.[1]

Taxonomy[edit]

Anacampseros is now a genus in the family Anacampserotaceae, whereas until about 2010 it had been considered a member of Portulacaceae.[2]

Anacampseros Mill. is a synonym of the genus Sedum, which is in a different plant family, Crassulaceae.[2]

Species[edit]

The following species were listed as accepted in the Kew Gardens Plant list at the start of 2016.[2]

Uses and significance[edit]

Folk uses and views on the genus are incoherent and regional. Some species are regarded as narcotic or outright poisonous, but tests on sheep gave no positive result and some of the notionally toxic species are used in adulterating beer. Several species have been used in making various forms of beer, but it is not clear what the intended effect might be, although some species appears to have some activity in hydrolysing some carbohydrates. Some species are used as charms and non-specific "medicines".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dyer, R. Allen, The Genera of Southern African Flowering Plants”. ISBN 0 621 02854 1, 1975
  2. ^ a b c The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed January 2016)
  3. ^ Watt, John Mitchell; Breyer-Brandwijk, Maria Gerdina: The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of Southern and Eastern Africa 2nd ed Pub. E & S Livingstone 1962