Dorstenia lavrani T.A.McCoy & M.Massara
Tabia Gorge Dorstenia
Dorstenia lavrani is native to northern Somalia. It occurs north of Erigavo in the Taba'a Gap (Tabia Gorge), growing in moss-filled cracks on steep limestone.
Dorstenia lavrani is an attractive plant that forms a symmetrical grove with many succulent wax-like stems patterned with spiraling rows of whitish leaf scars and topped with a rosette of attractively crisped leaves. It has the appearance of a compact grove of palm trees and is perhaps the most attractive of all of the Dorstenias. The stems grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Leaves are elliptic to obovate, up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long and up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) broad.
The flowers occur in masses on fleshy receptacles that appear solitary in the leaf axils on up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long peduncles. The receptacles are up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter. Dorstenia lavrani is the only species of Dorstenia that is dioecious in which the male and female flowers are on separate plants.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Dorstenias are warm-loving plants that need a bit more water than regular succulents. They need a well-draining potting mix, and their water needs vary depending on the season. Water regularly from spring to fall. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering, but ensure they never dry out completely. These plants tend to go at least partially dormant during the winter months. During this period, reduce watering. Giving plants a warm, sunny position can result in beautiful compact growing plants. It is recommended to fertilize plants occasionally during their growing period with a high potash and phosphorus fertilizer.
The spring weather, with a high-temperature swing between the day and night hours and frequent rains, can favor the development of fungus diseases, which should be treated preemptively with a systemic fungicide.
Dorstenias are generally propagated by seed. Many species are self-fertile. Their seeds are expelled explosively from the mature seed heads and are liable to populate pots several feet away. They can also be propagated by cuttings.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Dorstenia.
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