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Fockea edulis (Hottentot Bread)

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Scientific Name

Fockea edulis K.Schum.

Common Names

Hottentot Bread

Synonyms

Brachystelma macrorrhizum, Chymocormus edulis, Fockea cylindrica, Fockea glabra, Pergularia edulis

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Fockea edulis is a semi-deciduous, perennial caudiciform with succulent tuberous roots that are twisted and gray colored with wart-like tubercules. The caudex is up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter and grows faster if it is covered with soil. The thin vine branches are up to 13 feet (4 m) long and climb on any type of available support. They will lose some leaves in winter but rarely goes completely leafless. The leaves are oval, green and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The flowers are whitish-green, vygie-like and up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) across and usually appear in summer. This plant is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants.

Photo via llifle.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Fockeas are relatively easy to grow. They are present in most caudiciform collections. A coarse, gritty, well-draining soil mix that provides fast drainage, along with providing warmth and dryness in the cold winter months is an absolute necessity.

Choose a pot fairly deep to leave the right space to the rich root system of the plant.

It can tolerate full sun but only if the rays do not fall directly on the plant during the hottest parts of the day. Alternatively, you can place the plant in partial shade.

Water regularly from spring to fall with a frequency of once every 5 to 7 days. The tuber, with its shape, can be a good indicator to check that the plant receives enough water because otherwise it will tend to shrivel.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Fockea.

Origin

Fockea edulis is native to South Africa and Namibia.

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