|Pelargonium psammophilum E. M. Marais
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South Afr. J. Bot. 113 (2017) 261-269
Deciduous geophyte, 60-200(-240) mm tall when in flower, tuber turnip-shaped, elongated or moniliform root.
Radical, erecto-patent, varying from simple to irregularly pinnately or bipinnately incised, petiolate, laminae of simple leaves lanceolate or elliptic, 20-70 x 10-15 mm, base attenuate, apex acute, margin entire, laminae of dissected leaves 40-90 mm long, pinnae 8-30 mm long, laciniate, segments 1-2 mm wide, adaxially and abaxially glabrous to sparsely hirsute with appressed hairs, petiole rigid, erect, 65-120 mm long. Stipules subulate, adnate to petioles for two thirds of their length.
Scape, bearing 2-4 pseudo-umbellets, each (2-)3-6(-10)-flowered. Pedicel ca. 0.5 mm.
5, posterior one erect, others recurved, lanceolate, acute, 6-10 x 1-4 mm, green to pale reddish brown. Hypanthium 8-20 mm, 1.0-2.5-times the length of sepals, green [to reddish-brown, Ed.], hirsute with appressed curly hairs interspersed with dense, long glandular hairs and sparse to dense, patent non-glandular hairs.
5, white, cream-colured, pale pink or bright pink with white with undulate [or not, Ed.] margins, claws forming a sheath with the apices patent to recurved during anthesis, posterior two petals with conspicuous wine-red blotches in the centre, seldom with only feather-like markings, obovate or widely spathulate, 15-21 x 4-9 mm, length/width ratio 2.0-4.8, emarginate, with narrow cuneate claws 10-12 mm long, anterior three petals with faint pink veins, spathulate, 11-20 x 2-5 mm, bases attenuate, apices rounded.
5 fertile, concealed within the floral sheath, posterior filament 2-4(-5) mm long, lateral two 5.0-6.0(-6.5) mm, anterior two 4-6(-8) mm long, more or less as long as sepals, anthers pale pink, pollen pale yellow to white.
P. psammophilum carries its name owing to the sandy habitats in which it is normally found (psammo- is Greek for sand). It is distributed from Piketberg along the west coast and the Cape Peninsula to Hermanus and Elim, and is also found in the Breede river vally close to Worcester. The rainfall is about 200-400 mm, and it flowers from October to December.
This hoarea can be really beautiful as it forms compact pseud-umbels with the short hypanthia. In addition, the petals usually have prominent blotches, which makes them really decorative. In the past it used to be confused with P. longifolium, although P. psammophilum to Editor's knowledge never has undulate petals (in contrast with the species description), and P. longifolium does.
P. psammophilum is one of the few species with heteroblastic leaf development: P. proliferum, P. longifolium, P. pilosellifolium and P. dipetalum, though it could really only be confused with P. proliferum, although this species has much smaller petals and not marked with blotches.
Marais E. M. (2017).
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