|Astroloba foliolosa in cultivation|
They are very closely related to the Haworthia genus, but are distinguished by their flowers being regular and not double-tipped. The flowers are small and white, and appear clustered on slender racemes.
They bear very regular, sharp, triangular, succulent leaves along their symmetrical columnar stems. They are slow growing, multi-stemmed, and their longer stems tend to sprawl in their rocky natural habitat.
Within the genus, various subgroupings can be recognised, based on shared characteristics. The Foliolosa Complex (including the entities robusta, foliolosa and congesta) can be distinguished by the glossy sheen to their leaves, and by their flowers with long bracts, short pedicels, smooth periant tubes and broad cream-white lobes.
Distribution and habitat
These species are restricted to the dryer inland regions of the southern Cape, South Africa. In their arid natural habitat, they tend to favour semi-shade positions, with well-drained soil and winter rainfall.
- Astroloba bullulata (Jacq.) Uitewaal
- Including Astroloba hallii nom. nud.
- Astroloba congesta (Salm-Dyck) Uitewaal
- Astroloba corrugata N.L.Mey. & Gideon F.Sm.
- Astroloba cremnophila van Jaarsv.
- Astroloba foliolosa (Haw.) Uitewaal
- Astroloba herrei Uitewaal
- Astroloba robusta P.Reinecke ex Molteno, Van Jaarsv. & Gideon F.Sm.
- Astroloba rubriflora (L.Bolus) Gideon F.Sm. & J.C.Manning (also known as Poellnitzia rubriflora)
- Astroloba spiralis (L.) Uitewaal
- Astroloba smutsiana nom. nud. may be placed within this species.
- Astroloba tenax Molteno, van Jaarsv. & Gideon F.Sm.
Natural hybrids of these species occur, and there are several varieties which are unresolved as to whether they constitute intermediate forms, hybrids or separate species. In addition there are naturally occurring hybrids between species of Astroloba and Tulista (Haworthia Robustipedunculares), including the well-known ones named × Astrolista bicarinata (formerly x Astroworthia bicarinata / skinneri) which are crosses between Astroloba corrugata and Tulista pumila.
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- "Astroloba", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-06-09
- Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards), "Asphodeloideae", Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 2016-06-10
- Eggli, Urs; Newton, Leonard E. (2010), Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names, Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-05597-3, p. 17
- Search for "Astroloba", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-06-09
- Pandora Roberts Reinecke: Genus Astroloba Uitewaal (Liliaceae). MSc thesis. UCT Department of Biological Sciences. 1965.
- Introduction to the Astroloba species
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