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Adromischus, Aechmea, Aegopodium and Aeonium, A-Z of Plant genera part 9

Updated on November 4, 2015

Adromischus mammilaris



In this series 'A-Z of plant genera ' , we review the species of that occur in the genera under review. The plants in the genera occur all over the world and are fascinating subjects. The species we review may be wild or cultivated species. There will be horticultural tips as a guide to growing and looking after the cultivated species mentioned in this article.

Here in part nine of the series we review the genera Adromischus, Aechmea, Aegopodium and Aeonium. We commence with the genus Adromischus.

The genus Adromischus

Adromischus, is a genus of leaf succulents which are very easily propagated. They belong to the family Crassulaceae, and the order of plants known as the Saxifragales. They are endemic to South Africa. The genus name derives from the Greek adros=thick+mischosa stem.

They grow throughout southern Africa, in the drier areas of all the provinces of South Africa and much of Nambia.There are around fifty species and many sub-species are recognized.

The cultivars are a genus of Perennial succulents and evergreen sub-shrubs,with rounded,thin or fat leaves. They are frost tender with a minimum temperature requirement of forty five degrees F. They need partial shade and very well drained soil. They are easily propagated by stem or leaf cuttings in the spring or summer. It is difficult to imagine any other group of plants that need less space,skill or care.

On the whole it is the more showy species which are kept by growers,which is a shame because these tiny plants soon achieve a place in one's affections given the opportunity. The range in form and size within the genus is far greater than generally realized. The plants are usually short-stemmed and often rosette forming with a few having erect or trailing habits of growth. It seems that the species with brown or reddish spots on the foliage are the most popular species kept as house or greenhouse plants.

Adromischus {Species unknown}


Adromischus maculatum

Stockholm , Sweden
Stockholm , Sweden | Source

Adromischus festivus {Plover's eggs} and Adromischus maculatus.

Adromischus festivus, commonly referred to as Plover's eggs, is a sllow growing ,clump forming perennial succulent with a height of four inches and a spread of six inches. It produces egg-shaped,purple blotched,grey-green leaves each with a wavy edge and compressed tip.

The flower stem is up to twelve inches long,bears small, tubular pink flowers in summer.

Adromischus maculatus, is another clump forming perennial succulent plant with rounded glossy green leaves with purple markings. The leaf tips are often wavy. They produce tubular,purplish white flowers on twelve inch long stems in summer. The foliage height id from two and a half inches,with a spread of four to six inches.

Adromischus cristatus

Gaiser Conservatory,Manito Park ,Spokane ,Washington,USA.
Gaiser Conservatory,Manito Park ,Spokane ,Washington,USA. | Source

Adromischus cristatus and Adromischus marianae

Adromischus cristatus, is species endemic to the eastern cape of South Africa. It is a perennial with short erect branches covered by fine aerial roots. The foliage is green grey to green with wavy margins. During the spring the flower stems arise bearing small tubular flowers with tints of red.

As cultivars, the plants require bright light and importantly a good air flow and they need to be anchored in Cacti/Succulent potting soil which provides ample drainage.During the winter they require very little watering. Keep away from frost.

Adromischus marianae, is a very variable species growing from three and a half to six inches high,a perennial and slow growing sub-shrub,generally having thin short branches and form a small cluster of rough warty and nearly round leaves resembling dry raisins. They may be quite variable in colour,but usually green,red-brown or purplish up to one and a half inches long.

In the wild they grow on granite hills now and again inside crevices in rocks. There are two sub-species. A.marianae maculatus and A.marianae herrei.

A variety of Adromischus succulents.


The genus Aechmea

The genus Achmea is placed in the family Bromeliaceae. The genus name derives from the Greek archmea indicating a spear. There are about two hundred and fifty five species in eight sub-genera,they are native to Mexico through South America and most of the species are epiphytes. An epiphyte is a plant that grows harmlessly on another plant such as a tree.

Epiphyte growing on a tree in Costa Rica.


Aechmea distichantha

Illustration from Paxton's Flower Garden volume three.
Illustration from Paxton's Flower Garden volume three. | Source

Aechmea fasciata flower


The cultivars.

The cultivars are a genus of plants,evergreen,rosette-forming epiphtic perennials grown for their foliage flowers and fruits, However, they are frost tender with a minimum requirement of ten to fifteen C {50-59 F }. They grow in full light or semi-shade. They need to be provided with a rooting medium of equal parts humus rich soil and either Sphagnum moss or bark or plastic chips used for Orchid growing.

Using soft water,water moderately in summer,sparingly at other times,and keep the cup-like rosette centres filled with water from spring until autumn. Propagate by offsets in late spring.

Achmea distichantha, is an evergreen basal-rosetted epiphytic perennial which can attain the height of up to three feet,with a similar spread. This species forms dense rosettes of narrowly oblong,round-tipped arching leaves of a dull green colour above and grey and scaly beneath. They produce panicles of small tubular,purple or blue flowers among the white felted ,pink bracts, usually in the summer.

Aechmea fasciata sometimes found under the scientific name of Billbergia rhodocyanea,{Silver vase plant}, is an evergreen,tubular,rosetted,epiphytic perennial,with a height of up to two feet and a spread of about twenty inches. It produces loose rosettes of broadly oblong,round-tipped, in-curved ,arching leaves with dense grey scales and a silver cross banding.

The flowers are produced from spring until autumn in dense pyramidal panicles. They are tubular ,blue-pirple blooms among pink bracts,just above the foliage.

Aechmea fulgens,often referred to as 'Coral berry', is evergreen,basal rosetted,epiphytic perennial,with a height of up to thirty inches with a similar spread.This plant also forms loose rosettes of broadly oblong mid-green leaves with grey scales beneath,and rounded or pointed tips. The flowers are tubular of a violet purple colour which turn red with age. They are arranged in erect panicles. The flowers are followed by small rounded to ovoid,red fruits on red stalks.

Aechmea fulgens

United States Botanic Gardens
United States Botanic Gardens | Source

Aechmea nudicaulis.

Taken from the Botanical Register. Sydenham Edwards {1768-1819}.
Taken from the Botanical Register. Sydenham Edwards {1768-1819}. | Source

Aechmea nudicaulis and Aechmea recurvata.

Aechmea nudicaulis, is an evergreen basal rosetted perennial,with a height and spread of up to thirty inches. It produces loose rosettes of a few broadly,strap-shaped, arching, olive -green leaves with spiny edges and usually banded with grey scales beneath. The flowers are arranged in spikes,they are tubular of a yellow or pink colour and open above red bracts in summer.

Aechmea recurvata, is evergreen,a basal rosetted,epiphytic perennial with a height and spread of up to eight inches. The foliage is spiny edged,of a narrowly triangular form,which are tapered,arching and of a red flushed,mid green colour,which are produced in dense rosettes. The flowers are tubular and red and white arranged in a short, dense spike with red bracts,just above the foliage.

There are many more native species within the genera that have similar characteristics and habits.

Aechmea recurvata


Ground elder 'variegated'


The genus Aegopodium

The genus Aegopodium, is a genus of plants in the Apiaceae family { formerly the Umbelliferae},and are native to Europe and western Asia. The best known member is probably Aegopodium podagraria , the Ground elder or Goutweed. This species has been dealt with in detail in my article 'Ground Elder' here on hubpages. Other species in the genus include Aegopodium alpestre, A.handelii, A.kashmiriaim, A.latifolium and A. tadshikorum.

A.podigraria 'variegated' { see Image} is invasive but can make attractive ground cover where required.

The genus Aeonium

The genus Aeonium, is a genus that contains about thirty five species of succulent,sub-tropical plants belonging to the family Crassulaceae,within the order Saxifragales. The genus name derives from the Greek 'ainnos' indicating ageless. Most of the species are native to the Canary Islands but some are found in Madeira,Morocco and in East Africa. The rosette leaves are on a basal stem and they may be low growing or larger species. They are related to other similar genera and the genus Greenovia has recently been incorporated into Aeonium.

Aeonium undulatum

Kew gardens London UK.
Kew gardens London UK. | Source

Aeonium arboreum variety Manriqueeorum


Aeonium -Cultivars.

The cultivars are a genus of perennial succulents some of which are short lived. They are evergreen succulent plants grown for their rosettes of bright green or blue-green,occasionally purple foliage. They are all frost tender with a minimum temperature requirement of five degrees C, {41 F},. They tend to prefer partial shade and very well drained soil or growing medium. Most species grow from autumn until spring and are semi-dormant in mid-summer.

Aeonium arboreum, is a bushy perennial succulent with a height of two feet and a spread of three feet. The branched stems are each crowned with a rosette, up to six inches across,of broadly,lance-shaped ,glossy,bright green leaves. During the spring it produces cones of small star-shaped golden flowers on two to three year old stems,which then die back. There are varieties of which include Aeonium arboreum 'zchwalzkopf'

Aeonium arboreum 'purple variety'


Aeonium hawothii foliage


Aeonium haworthii

Aeonium haworthii, is commonly referred to as the Pin Wheel., is a bushy perennial succulent with freely branching stems bearing rosettes,up to five inches across,of blue-green leaves often with red margins. They produce a terminal spike of star-shaped,pink tinged pale yellow flowers in spring. The height and spread is tow to three feet. The minimum temperature required is five degrees C {41 F }. They prefer partial shade and a very well drained soil or growing medium.

Aeonium hawothii flowering

Note the purple tinge on the foliage
Note the purple tinge on the foliage | Source

Aeonium canariensis

Aeonium canariensis, is one of a very few species of Aeonium that have hairs all over the thick,succulent foliage. The foliage is low growing, however, the flower stems stand very tall above them. They are native to the Canary islands.

This species is much less popular with growers ,nevertheless they are available to the gardener who is keen to find them,especially the hybrid varieties. it is generally a non-branching plant ,however, most hybrid varieties do branch. It has a thick and smooth,very short stem and they grow at a fairly slow rate.

The rosettes are about two inches across and the foliage is somewhat cup-shaped, of alight green colour,but are often red tinged on the margins of older leaves.

Aeonium canariensis-flower buds


Aeonium cultivation tips

Aeoniums should be planted in medium sized pots,terracota if possible,with drainage holes essential at the bottom.The growing medium must allow adequate drainage material such as sand incorporated.

Plants that are placed outdoors must be allocated a situation where they receive sunlight from May through to September,but they must be brought indoors before any frost occurs which would be fatal to them. Indoors a south facing aspect is best,and they maybe placed back outdoors when all danger of frost has past. Indoors they need to be kept at a winter temperature of fifty to sixty degrees F.

Watering---Water Aeoniums when the soil or growing medium has completely dried out ,approximately every seven to ten days during the summer.During the winter water about once a month. It is best to stand them in water rather than water them from the top as the crown is liable to rot,especially if there is any standing water. The plants require to be fed from May or through the growing season,using an all purpose liquid plant food.

The plants may require re-potting every two to four years. The new pots must be one to inches larger to allow or new growth. Make sure the growing medium is the same as the original mixture.

Aeonium arboreum 'zwartkop'



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    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb, you are so right about these somewhat under rated plants. Thanks for your visit Appreciated. Best wishes to you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I was always enamored with the succulents. They look so dainty, yet they are stronger than many plants.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Lancashire north west England


      Hello Devika, thank you for your welcomed comments and for the tweet you are very kind. Best wishes to you.


      Hi Mary thank you too, for your generous comments they are appreciated. Best wishes to you.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      These are certainly interesting plants. Some show their beauty in the midst of leaves/spikes, where beauty would never be expected.

      You've brought us yet another education and these strange and interesting plants.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful images. Informative and interesting as always. I like the way you explained of each plant. I Tweeted.


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