|Pelargonium montaguense E. M. Marais
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South Afr. J. Bot. 113 (2017) 261-269
Deciduous geophyte, 70-90 mm tall when in flower, tuber turnip-shaped, elongated or moniliform root.
Radical, prostrate, trifoliolate, petiolate, lamina palmately compound with three more or less even-sized pinnae, 15 x 10 mm, pinnae obcordiform, 5-6 x 7 mm [pinnae of adult leaves deeply incised, segments laciniate with acute apices, Ed.], adaxially and abaxially densely sericeous with long appressed hairs, bright red when dry, petiole rigid, spreading horizontally from the growing point and bending vertically in the middle, distally densely sericeous and basally almost glabrous or sparsely sericeous with appressed hairs interspersed with glandular hairs. Stipules narrowly triangular, adnate to petioles, apices free.
Scape, reddish green, bearing 2-3 pseudo-umbellets, each 3-7-flowered. Pedicel ca. 0.5 mm.
5, linear-lanceolate, 7-8 x 1.5-2.2 mm, patent during anthesis, reddish green in the centre with green membrane-like margins. Hypanthium 15-18 mm, 2.0-2.5-times the length of sepals, reddish-green, densely hirsute with distally appressed hairs interspersed with short and long glandular hairs.
5, white with undulate margins, claws forming a sheath with the apices recurved during anthesis, posterior two petals with conspicuous wine-red blotches in the centre, sometimes with only feather-like markings, obovate or widely spathulate, 21-22 x 5-6 mm, length/width ratio 3.5-4.8, emarginate, with narrow cuneate claws 9-10 mm long, anterior three petals spathulate, 15 x 3 mm, bases attenuate, apices rounded.
5 fertile, concealed within the floral sheath, posterior filament ca. 4 mm long, lateral two ca. 5 mm, anterior two ca. 5.5-6.0 mm long, anthers pink, pollen pale yellow to white.
P. montaguense, as the name implies, is confined to a small area around Montagu in the Western Cape. The rain mainly falls during wintertime, about 200 mm, but the plants often inhabit seasonally wet foothill areas. The miniature plants are best visible after a fire, when larger vegetation succumbs to the flames. It flowers from September to October and is considered critically endangered due to development.
Many renosterveld geophytes take the opportunity and flower profusely after fires, including P. lobatum flowering not far away from a small population of P. montaguense, found a meter away from the road in the newly developed outskirts of Montagu.
The publication of the species seems to only mention the shape of juvenile leaves, in fact, adult leaves are very similar to those of P. fergusoniae. Another character not mentioned in the publication is that the peduncle can also be recurved, i.e. spreading horizontally from the growing point and then bending vertically, a character shared with only one other, as yet unnamed species of section Hoarea.
Marais E. M. (2017).
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