Cheiridopsis rostrata (L.) N.E.Br.
The specific epithet "rostrata (ro-STRAY-tuh)" means "beaked, beak-like" and refers to the shape of the leaf pairs.
Cheiridopsis rostrata is native to South Africa. It occurs on granite outcrops from Rietpoort and Vredenburg to Hopefield in the Western Cape province.
Cheiridopsis rostrata is a small succulent with pairs of fleshy, upright, pale greenish-grey, translucently spotted leaves that blush by early summer. It grows up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall and 7.2 inches (18 cm) in diameter, forming a dense clump with age. One or two new leaf pairs emerge from branch tips each year. The old leaf pairs dry out, creating a cylindrical, papery sheath covering the succeeding pairs.
The flowers are usually solitary, daisy-like, with numerous narrow yellow petals fading to red and appearing on long, slender stalks in winter. The fruits are 8- to 9-locular capsules.
Cheiridopsis rostrata has a similar appearance to Cheiridopsis namaquensis but grows in a wetter climate.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Mesembs are mostly adapted to relatively predictable rainfall patterns rather than extreme drought and irregular rainfall. Total rainfall may be extremely low, but water is available at least seasonally or through fog and condensation. This leads to or allows plants that are not especially large and sometimes very small and affect how they need to be treated in cultivation.
The basics of care are simple: free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. The difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs' adaptability and follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.
These plants require a loam-based compost with extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation.
Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to the freezing point. Some Mesembs begin to grow in the fall as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
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