Information

Dinteranthus

Dinteranthus


Dinteranthus is a genus of stemless succulents plants, native to the Cape Province in South Africa. The genus is named for the professor Kurt Dinter, Dinteranthus meaning "Dinter's Flower".

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Dinteranthus - garden

Accepted Scientific Name: Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus (N.E.Br.) N.Sauer
Fl. Pl. Africa 45(1-2):t. 1779B (1978)

Origin and Habitat: Namibia, Namaqualand, Northern cape, South Africa. (the ssp. 'puberulus' is geografically separated and occurs south east of the area of Dinteranthus microspermus in the Kenhardt district)
Habitat: This species grows in quartz slopes, in summer raining areas. They both in colour and shape, resemble the stones and pebbles found in their natural habitat. The form and colour of the Dinteranthus have developed in order to allow them to live in the harsh conditions of their natural environment where they are able to stand extended periods of drought.

Description: Dinteranthus microspermus is a small stemless succulent that grows above ground and not markedly buried after the manner of Dinteranthus vanzylii. It is usually solitary or few branched, but subspecies 'puberulus' forms small compact groups with 3-7 branches up 2 to 3 cm high, each with a single leaf-pair in the resting state.
Bodies (paired leaves): The plant has only pairs of boat-shaped, leaves about 2,5 cm long and broad with an inconspicuous keel, they are connate (united) to their length for 1/3 to 2/3 with a wide gap. Leaves are trigonus with convex sides as seen from above and semi-oval to semi-orbicular in side view. The leaves are chalky white suffused with violet or reddish, they are covered with green dots and without 'windows'. The epidermis of subs. 'microspermus' is glabrous while in subs. 'puberulus' the surface is green dotted and velvety due to hair-like papillae. The outer epidermal walls with a layer of crystal sand (not visible to the naked eyes) has a characteristically glittering shine.
Flowers: Solitary, yellow or whitish often tipped with reddish, filaments basally white erect, staminodes absent,
Fruits: The fruit is a 6-10 locular capsule with broadly winged valves.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Dinteranthus microspermus group

Notes: The strange appearance of Dinteranthus have made them very popular in succulent collections. They are similar in habit to Lithops but grows above ground (only D. vanzily is partly subterranean like Lithops with the top of each leaf tip exposed above soil). They are also called mimicry plants as they show a striking similarity to their background rocks and are difficult to detect when not in flower. The Dinteranthus have a pebbly look and are commonly known as pebble plants or living stones each species is associated with one particular type of rock formation and occurs nowhere else. This camouflage also reduces the need for chemical defences against herbivores.

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors” Cambridge University Press, 11/ago/2011
2) Heidrun E. K. Hartmann “Aizoaceae F – Z” Springer, 2002
3) Hermann Jacobsen, Vera Higgins (1946) “Description, Cultivation and Uses of Succulent Plants, Other Than Cacti” Abbey Garden Press.
4) Jacobsen "Handbook of succulent plants" (1960)
5) Barkhuizen "Succulents of southern Africa." (1981)
6) Court "Succulent flora of southern Africa" (1981)
7) Rolf Rawé “Succulents in the veld” Howard Timmins, 1968
8) Sean. Hogan “Flora” Timber Press, 2003
9) Japan Succulent Society. "Colour encyclopedia of succulents." (1981)


Dinteranthus puberulus (Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Dinteranthus puberulus (Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Dinteranthus puberulus (Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Dinteranthus puberulus (Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Dinteranthus puberulus (Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Dinteranthus puberulus (Dinteranthus microspermus subs. puberulus) Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

Cultivation and Propagation: Dinteranthus are summer growing species with dry rest period over winter but they do not shows an apparent dormant season like Lithops. Paying attention to the particular growing requirement of Dinteranthus is especially important. If you provide the Dinteranthus with the right conditions, they will reward you with their unique shape, size, colour and a proliferation of blooms in autumn. However, Dinteranthus are tricky plants that are very particular about their growing conditions and require the right maintenance in order to keep happy. But don't be afraid even the best growers have plants that mysteriously dry up, or leave during the night. While Dinteranthus are picky about their care, if you are patient and remember the basics, your efforts will be rewarded. Being small plants, a representative collection can be grown on a patio table, a sunny windowsill or a shelf in the greenhouse.
Growing rate: Slow growing for a mesemb.
Soil: Easy to grow they need a very open mineral, fast draining mix with little compost and a high degree of grit, coarse sand, small lava gravel or pebbles. They can grow outdoor in sunny, dry, rock crevices (protection against winter wet is required) They can also be cultivated in alpine house, in poor, drained soil.
Repotting: Keep them in small pots as solitary clumps or as colonies in large, shallow terracotta seed pans. Dinteranthus may stay in the same pot for many years. Plants grown in larger containers have frequently relatively poor flowers. Flowers might improve when the plants are given their own, small individual pots.
Exposition: Give them the maximum amount of light you are able to give them, but care should be taken about exposing them to the full blast of the sun rays in summer (The only exception to this is seedlings in their first year that enjoy a shades place). Such tiny plants can easily get scorched or broiled and their appearance spoiled (this may not matter in the wild, where the Dinteranthus have probably shrunk into the ground and becomes covered with sands).
Basic watering routine: Gives some water all year, more in Spring and again in autumn. Keep rather dry during coldest winter month and start watering regularly after the old leaves completely dry. (Usually late March or Early April) Water freely during the growing season, soak the compost fully but allow it to dry out between waterings. Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. If too much water is supplied the plants will grow out of character, bloat, split and rot. When in doubt DON'T WATER. Where the resting season is in the winter and central heating gives very dry air in the home, give a light top spray once a week to simulate the desert dew and prevent excessive dehydration. After flowering in the summer and extending through winter season the plant doesn’t need watering, but they will still be growing, the new bodies will be increasing in size extracting water from the outer succulent leaves, allowing them to shrivel away. In fact the plant in this time extracts water and nutrient stored in the outer succulent leaves, allowing them to dehydrate relocating the water to the rest of the plant and to the new leaves that form during this period until the old leaves are reduced to nothing more than "thin papery shells".
Fertilization: Feed them once during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (high potash fertilizer with a dilute low nitrogen), including all micro nutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. They thrive in poor soils and need a limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases. Some growers fertilize frequently, some hardly ever. However, for the highly succulent mesembs, (Lithops, Conophytums, etc.) fertilization is not really necessary.
Hardiness: Overwinter them preferably not below 5° C (But will take a light frost and are hardy down to -7° C for short periods if they are in dry soil). USDA zones 9A – 11.
Uses: Container, rock garden.
Pests and diseases: They are vulnerable to mealybugs and rarely scale.
Propagation: From seed (very small) or by dividing older clumps. The small seeds can be sown in pots of fine, well-drained sand, any time during the spring and summer months when temperatures are warm. Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of grit and water from below with a fungicide to prevent damping off. For the first 3-4 days cover the pots with a sheet of glass/clear perspex to keep the humidity levels high. Remove the glass and replace it with light shadecloth and mist once or twice a day for the next two weeks after which most seeds should have germinated. From then on mistings can be reduced to every second and then every third day as the little plants grow. Take the cuttings from a grown-up mother plant. Each cutting must contain one or more heads along with a fraction of root and permit them to dry out a couple of days, lay the cuttings on the soil and insert the stem end partially into the soil. Try to keep the cutting somewhat upright so that the roots are able to grow downward. It is relatively difficult to root Dinteranthus from cuttings and generally pointless as well, so quick are they from seed.


Dinteranthus

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Danger:

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Gardeners' Notes:

On Feb 5, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a Mimicry Mesembryanthemums (Mimicry Mesembs). Both in colour and shape, these plants resemble the stones and pebbles found in their natural homes. Their forms and colors have developed in order to allow them to live in the harsh conditions of their natural environment, the southern part of continental Africa.
Care:
"Always given absolute maximum light and sun. The only exception to this is seedlings in their first year.
Water only in the growing season and then soak about once a week. When in doubt DON'T WATER. Where the resting season is in the winter and central heating gives very dry air in the home, give a light top spray once a week to simulate the desert dew and prevent excessive dehydration.
Use a sandy open soil with a fair amount of lime (pH. read more factor in the order of 5 to 10). Good drainage is critical.
Never let the temperatures go below freezing, preferably not below 5 C. Strictly speaking this applies to most but not all species, but unless you know the hardiness of a given species (and these are not well established) it is wise to keep to this rule." Source:Ken Hancock, A Layman's Guide to
Mimicry Mesembryanthemums.

Propagation: from seed (very small)
by dividing new plants formed at the base of the "mother" plant