Identifying Characteristics: Leaves are emerald to jade green Semi-deciduous with severe drought Bark is reddish to brownish (as it matures) Late-spring to early-summer flowers are small, profuse, and rosy-pink to mauve Grows to ~3’-13’ high and ~3’-12’ wide, forming thickets under ideal conditions
Landscape Values: Growth is slow unless occasional soil moisture and moderate organic nutrients are available Winter moisture and rich soil inhibit flowering Attractive evergreen foliage plant (absent severe drought) Flowers attract bees, butterflies, other insects, and insectivorous birds
Horticultural Requirements: Full sun to full shade (more sun along the coast, less sun inland) Drought-tolerant but tolerates moderate garden watering Requires good drainage Mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil (pH 5.6-7.8) Salt-tolerant Tip-prune (above leaf-pairs), intermittently, for compactness Remove branches for shaping (e.g. bonsai) at any time (except winter-spring per more flowers)
Native Range: South Africa to Kenya
Fun Fact: When the soil is dry, the leaves transpire mainly in the cool of the night to conserve water, releasing oxygen from the previous day and storing carbon dioxide, in malic acid, to be used in photosynthesis, to make sugars, the next day – as a result, the edible leaves tranform from tart at dawn to sweet at dusk! This form of photosynthesis is called “crassulacean acid metabolism” – a chemical process found in some 16,000 plant species. On the other hand, when the soil is moist, transpiration and photosynthesis proceed “normally” during the day, using water and producing sugars more rapidly. Only two dozen other plant species are known to switch their photosynthesis in this way – rare indeed!
For more information about the N/E/X/T/Garden, where this Featured Xeriscape Plant grows, click here. For additional information about this Featured Xeriscape Plant, email: Info@PalisadesBeautiful.org.