Huernia aspera N. E. Br. in Gard. Chron.: ser. 3, 2: 364 (1887).
Etymology: aspera (lat. f.) - rough, uneven
Distribution: Tanzania (Zanzibar?, Iringa, Dodoma), Kenya (Kajiado, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Nairobi, Taita-Taveta), Malawi
Distribution map of Huernia aspera (my own records, Leach 1988)
History: Huernia aspera was sent to Kew from Zanzibar by sir John Kirk in 1886 and described in 1887 by N. E. Brown.
This is a distinct and rather odd looking species, the habit and appearance of the stems recalling to mind those of Echidnopsis cereiformis. It was sent to Kew in 1886 by Sir John Kirk, and probably is a native of the region of Zanzibar.
The succulent stems are procumbent and ascending, elongated, growing to a length of 6 to 9 inches, and ½ inch thick, quite glabrous, very obtusely five to six angled, with small, rigid, tooth-like, horizontal rudimentary leaves. Cymes sessile near the base of the young shoots, three to five (or perhaps more) flowered. Bracts subulate. Pedicels ¼—⅓ inch long, glabrous, dull purple. Calyx segments very spreading, ¼ inch long, lanceolate - acuminate, glabrous, dull purple. Corolla campanulate, about ½ inch long and ¾—1 inch in diameter; lobes deltoid-acuminate, with five small alternating points in the angles between them, as in all other members of the genus; outside dull purple, rough with numerous papillie; inside uniform blackishpurple, densely covered with pointed papilliae. Outer corona of five short, broad, slightly emarginate, subtruncate lobes, of an intense blackish-crimson colour. Inner corona of five lanceolate-subulate yellowish lobes, scarcely longer than the anthers, and not produced into subulate points.
No other species yet described can possibly be confused with this, the elongating procumbent stems and concolorous flowers, rough inside and out from being covered with papilltc, at once distinguish it.
N. E. Brown (1887)
The illustration of Huernia aspera
1 - Base of column with sepal and corona; 2 - column; 3 - column with the five inner lobes of the corona removed; 4 & 5 - pollinia
Curtis's Botanical Magazine. v. 114 [ser. 3: v. 44], t. 7000 (1888)
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