Cameron McMaster
Mon, 24 Jan 2005 15:16:57 PST
Hi All,

Cameron sent me this message earlier on Brachystelma which I mentioned when 
I was writing about his CD. I waited to forward it on to the group until I 
found time to make a wiki page and add a few of the pictures from the CD of 
this most interesting genus.…

Mary Sue

Dear Mary Sue

Your remarks regarding Brachystelmas in the your comments on my CD, Wild 
Bulbs of the Eastern Cape (pbs digest, Vol 24, Issue 15), has prompted me 
to react.

I included Brachystelmas in the CD because, although they are not strictly 
bulbous plants, they are clearly geophytes with a thickened underground 
stem (called a caudex).  They are small plants, mostly pretty rare and 
specialised in their habitats and always very difficult to find - so I find 
them fascinating.

They are classified in the family Apocynaceae (Milkweed Family).  According 
to the latest update of Levyn's Guide to the Pant Genera of the Western 
Cape by Terry Trinder Smith published by the Bolus Herbarium, University of 
Cape Town (2003), they resort under the Tribe Ceropegieae in the Subfamily 
Aschlepiadoideae.  Better known genera within this tribe are the Stapelias 
and Orbeas.

Elsa Pooley in her Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Natal and the Eastern 
Region (1998) describes the genus as follows:

Brachystelma (brachy - short;  stelma - crown, refers to the often 
extremely short corona) - Perennial herbs; stems usually annual. erect to 
prostrate; roots fleshy, clustered or disc-like stem tuber; milky latex; 
flower lobes fused, long or short, tubes usually shorter than lobes, corona 
in 2 series; fruit spindlelike, erect.  There are over 100 species occuring 
in Africa, Asia and Australia.  They are most diverse in South Africa where 
approximately 70 species occur.

I hope this sheds a little light on a rather obscure genus.

Cameron McMaster
African Bulbs
PO Box 26, Napier 7270
Tel/Fax: 028 423 3651
E-mail: <>
Website: <>

More information about the pbs mailing list