Astroloba

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Astroloba
Astroloba foliolosa 9.jpg
Astroloba foliolosa in cultivation
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Astroloba
Uitewaal[1]

Astroloba is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asphodelaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae,[2] native to the Cape Province of South Africa.[1]

Naming[edit]

Detail of Astroloba inflorescence (here, Astroloba corrugata)

The name of the genus is derived from the Greek words astros, star, and lobos, lobe, and refers to the starlike shape of the petals, which appear at the end of the tube-like flowers.

Description[edit]

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.[3]

Distribution map of the Astroloba species
Astroloba species - flowering times.png

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[edit]

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.

Species[edit]

As of June 2013, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepted seven species. An overall list of species recognised include the following:[4][5][6]

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 Astroworthia bicarinata / skinneri which are crosses between Astroloba corrugata and Haworthia maxima.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Astroloba", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-06-09 
  2. ^ Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards), "Asphodeloideae", Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 2016-06-10
  3. ^ Eggli, Urs; Newton, Leonard E. (2010), Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names, Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-05597-3 , p. 17
  4. ^ Search for "Astroloba", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-06-09 
  5. ^ Pandora Roberts Reinecke: Genus Astroloba Uitewaal (Liliaceae). UCT Department of Biological Sciences. 1965.
  6. ^ Introduction to the Astroloba species