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The Genus Cheiridopsis


chhd.jpg (20724 bytes)The genus Cheiridopsis (N.E.Br) is comprised of thirty three species.  The genus name is derived from the greek words cheiris (sheath) and opsis (resembling), the name refers to the old leaves which form a sheath that covers the new leaf pair.  Plants are also know as clock plant (C. robusta) and eseloor (donkey ear) for C. peculiaris.

The plants vary in size from small to large shrublets.   Consecutive pairs of similiar leaves are borne on a short stem, the leaves may vary in shape, size and degree of fusion.  The leaves are glabrous and the tips may be apiculate.  Leaves are long and slender to triangular in shape.  In some species the old leaves form a papery sheath which encloses the new developing leaf pair.

appear from autumn to spring, they open at midday and close again at dusk.  The scented flowers are borne on short or long pedicels, they are yellow to white and seldom pinkish, red or purple.  The petals are borne in several whorls.  Four to five sepals are present, nectar glands form a ring around the 10 to 20 feathery stigmas.  The seed pods are 10 to 20 locular, covering membranes and large closing devices are present.   Seeds are white to brown in colour.

Plants are found in a long band from Luderitz - Namibia in the North though the Richtersveld and Namaqualand to the northern parts of the Western Cape, the plants distribution range occurs in the winter rainfall region.  The greatest concentration of species occurs near Steinkopf and Platbakkies.


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