Duvalia caespitosa var. caespitosa

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Botanical Name
Duvalia caespitosa var. caespitosa
Apocynaceae - The Oleander or Dogbane family.
doo-VAL-ee-uh kess-pi-TOH-suh
Common Name(s)
Afrikaans: Hotnotstoonjies (Hottentot's toes)
Plant Group
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Very Small
    Tree3m to 4m
    Shrub25cm to 50cm
    Perennial/ground coverUp to 10cm
    Bulb10cm to 20cm
    SucculentUp to 5cm
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Tender A plant that will not survive any frost or low winter temperatures.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Duvalia caespitosa is a Stapelia-like plant with small, succulent stems which creep along the ground, rooting as they go, to form a mat. The dull blue-green to pinkish, slightly toothed stems are densely crowded and leafless. As with many succulents, they prefer to grow in the light shade of scrubby shrubs or between rocks where they get some shade during the day. Seed pods are decorative, appearing as twin horns up to a year after flowering. The flowers are held on pinkish stems and have a pungent smell, variously compared to mature blue cheese, rotten meat, smelly socks and the like. The smell of carrion attracts flies which are known to attempt to lay their eggs on the flowers and in doing so, pollinate them.

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flattened, star shaped with five fleshy, narrow 'petals', about 3 cm in diameter

  • Summer to Autumn Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • maroon
Growth Rate
  • Moderate Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Ground Cover Low-lying plants that spread fast, require minimal maintenance, and cover large expanses or bare areas between bulbs or shrubs. They provide protection from erosion and drought and improve the visual appearance of the garden.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape Province in arid Karoo and semi-Karoo habitats, in rocky areas, amongst stones and in the cracks between large boulders, often shaded by scrub or grass

Planting Suggestions

Duvalia caespitosa requires plenty of sunlight to flower successfully but does need protection from the sun's most blistering rays. Water moderately to sparingly and only when the soil is dry. They can tolerate temperatures down to 5ºC as long as they are kept dry. All the members of this family have problems with stem rot. Remove the affected stems or sections, cut off all visible rot and dry out the healthy parts for a day or two. Lay (not bury) the stems on the ground in a lightly shaded spot and they will root from the underside. The plant is easily propagated from stem cuttings. Seeds do germinate quite easily - sow in well-drained, sandy soil and barely cover the seeds. Keep slightly moist. If needed, use a fertiliser low in nitrogen as this results in an overgrowth of foliage.

Lorraine's Garden Notes

As you can see in the last picture above, the plant has had way too much water and shade, resulting in skinny, very green stems. This is not desirable as the plant is more susceptible to disease. I really should know better!

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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