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Fockea angustifolia

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Scientific Name

Fockea angustifolia K.Schum.

Synonyms

Cynanchum omissum, Fockea dammarana, Fockea lugardii, Fockea mildbraedii, Fockea monroi, Fockea sessiliflora, Fockea tugelensis

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Fockeeae
Genus: Fockea

Origin

Native to Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Description

Fockea angustifolia is a caudiciform plant with erect or climbing stems that grow from a large tuber. The stems are slender, woody, and up to 6.6 feet (2 m) long. They support themselves by twining around other plants or a supporting structure. The tuber can grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and up to 16 inches (40 cm) long. Leaves are green, elliptic or ovate, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Flowers appear from late summer to early fall. They have five greenish, narrow, twisted outer lobes and white inner ones that are shorter.

The specific epithet "angustifolia" derives from the Latin "angustus," meaning "narrow" and "folium," meaning "leaf," and refers to the narrow leaves.

Photo by Top Tropicals

How to Grow and Care

Light: These plants prefer partial shade. They can tolerate full sun but need a little sun protection during the hottest part of the day.

Soil: Fast-draining soil mix is the best soil for your Fockea to drain excess water.

Hardiness: Fockea angustifolia can tolerate temperatures as low as 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b.

Watering: During the growing season, from spring to fall, water regularly allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Reduce watering in the winter. Water only enough to prevent the shriveling of the tuber.

Fertilizing: To force tuber growth, feed with high-nitrogen fertilizer with a lower potassium level, only during the growing season.

Propagation: Fockea plants are relatively easy to grow from seeds. They are dioecious, so both male and female plants are needed to produce seeds. Vegetative propagation is difficult to impossible.

Toxicity: Fockeas are known as food plants, but the tuber has milky sap, which is said to be poisonous. Avoid contact with skin or eyes and keep away from children and pets.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Fockea.

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