Cyphia digitata

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 24 May 2008 09:27:47 PDT

I sent this yesterday before Dylan's helpful reply about cultivation and 
whether this species is a geophyte.  There was a period yesterday when 
ibiblio was having problems and my post never made it to the archives so I 
assume it must have arrived during that time. If others of you sent 
something that never appeared, you may want to resend those messages.

Message from yesterday:

Manning and Goldblatt's Cape Plants describe this species as a twining 
tuberous perennial. This book often uses the term geophyte in descriptions, 
but did not do so in this case. This books says it has a wide distribution 
from Namaqualand and the Western Karoo to Port Elizabeth where is grows on 
sandstone and clay slopes (habitats I'd expect more likely than grassland 
for some of those areas) so must grow in some areas where there is very 
little rainfall and that mostly coming in the winter months although those 
growing in Port Elizabeth would have different conditions. I looked up some 
other species in my Namaqualand field guide and they were described as 
deciduous perennials growing from a tuber. Our group never will reach 
consensus about what is appropriate for discussion or probably even what is 
a geophyte and the leadership has erred on the side of being inclusive and 
has allowed pictures of plants with tubers, corms, bulbs, rhizomes, even 
tuberous roots to be added to the wiki. Certainly other plants that have a 
dormancy period and grow from a tuber are considered geophytes. In nature 
given where it grows there would be little to no moisture during dormancy. 
Does anyone else grow it who could offer an opinion about the care it needs 
in summer to thrive?

Mary Sue

>Is this species considered a geophyte (how not, I suppose)?  How complete 
>a summer rest does it need?

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