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Fl. Cap. 1 (1860) 280.
Dwarf stem succulent, sparsely branched from the base, deciduous during summer, armed with persistent stipules, up to ~0.2 m high when in flower. Stems smooth between stipules, succulent, glabrous, dark greyish-black.
Bipinnately incised, membraneous, often hirsute with short glandular haris interspersed, green. Lamina ovate in outline, base cordially incised, 15-35 x 14-20 mm, segments oblong or linear with apices more or less acute and margins entire, segments 1-2 mm wide. Petiole 12-30 mm long, stipules free, triangular, 5-8 mm long and 2-3 mm broad at base, hard and rigid, with sparse and short glandular hairs, persistent, light-coloured.
A subterminal inflorescence branch bearing 2-13-flowered pseudo-umbels. Peduncle 15-35(-55) mm long, with glandular hairs. Pedicel ~1 mm.
5, narrowly ovate, adaxially concave, apices acute, hirsute to hirtellous and with short glandular hairs, green with margins hyaline, 7-8 x 1.5-2. mm. Hypanthium 20-45 mm.
5, creamy white, posterior two oblong or somewhat ribbon-shaped with rounded apices and bases, 15 x 2.0-2.5 mm, reflexed amost at 180o at apices, with feather-like wine-red markings, anterior three spathulate, 17-20 x 3-4 mm, slightly recurved, with linear wine-red markings at the very base.
4 (possibly occasionally 5) fertile, more or less equal in length.
P. hystrix is believed to be fairly rare, although it extends from Calvinia to S of Touws Rivier, component of Karoo scrub, mostly in direct sunlight or close to shrubs. The winters can be frosty, while the summers are extremely hot. P. hystrix flowers in October to November, after which the leaves die.
A probably very old specimen, with reclining stems no longer capable of carrying the weight of leaves (and time). Around Matjiesfontein, P. hystrix can be found in excellent company of a number of pelargoniums, from shrubby P. carnosum, P. parviflorum, P. stipulaceum and P. crithmifolium to geophytic P. moniliforme, P. leipoldtii, P. rapaceum, P. fumariifolium, P. nervifolium and many, many more.
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