fergusoniae L. Bolus
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Kew Bull. 258 (1934) 258.
Acaulescent geophyte, tuber turnip-shaped 8-30 x 8-15 mm.
Lamina palmately compound with three main pinnae 10-50 mm long, deeply incised, segments laciniate with acute apices, sparsely hirsute with long appressed hairs interspersed with short glandular hairs. Petiole 20-100 mm, rigid, spreading horizontally and bending vertically in the middle. Stipules narrowly triangular, adnate to petioles for 1/3 of their length.
Scape, bearing 2-4 pseudo-umbellets, each 3-8-flowered. Pedicel cca. 0.5 mm.
5, lanceolate, apices acute, 6.5-11 x 1-3 mm, posterior erect, others recurved. Hypanthium (15)20-42 mm.
5, white, pale pink or cream coloured, ligulate, apices patent or recurved, posterior two with wine-red markings, 20-33 x 2.-3.5 mm, length/width 6.5-8.5. Anterior three usually without markings, 15-29 x 2-2.2 mm..
5 fertile, concealed within the floral sheath, posterior one 1.5-2 mm, lateral two 2.5-3.5, anterior two 4.5-5 mm.
P. fergusoniae is a humble fynbos undergrowth plant for most of the year, until it bursts into flower. On the photo is the lush valley just south of McGregor in the Western Cape province, where it grows next to P. pilosellifolium, P. luteolum, P. rapaceum and a few more as yet unidentified section Hoarea species. P. fergusoniae can be difficult to identify when not in flower especially with the ubiquitous P. luteolum growing nearby. However, the two species differ in the shape of leaf petioles: these are upright in the latter species, while those of P. fergusoniae spread horizontally, often underground, until the laminas emerge from the ground.
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