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Origin and Habitat: South African endemic. Eastern Cape (Cradock and Somerset East). Huernia kennedyana is amongst the most localized of all members of the genus, known from five sites from an extent of occurrence of less than 500 km².
Altitude range: 1100 - 1500 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: This species is occasionally found on flat areas, more usually associated with slightly raised gravely spots, on low doleritic ridges, also on shale ridges in crevices among rocks together with Pectinaria arcuata and Pectinaria pillansii in areas of high rainfall. It is not known to be threatened and thrives in an isolated, rugged environment that makes it all the more difficult to assess these places.
- Huernia kennedyana Lavranos
Description: Huernia kennedyana the “Humpty Dumpty Huernnia” is a perennial succulents species with remarkable small highly papillose, yellow flowers. It is easily recognizable even without flowers. Its 2-5-3.5 cm long stems are globular or egg shaped and it spreads like a mat across the ground in time.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Bruyns, P.V. "Stapeliads of southern Africa and Madagascar." (Vol. 1, pp. 1-330). Umdaus Press, Pretoria. 2005.
2) Victor, J.E. & Dold, A.P. 2006. Huernia kennedyana Lavranos. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2014.1. Accessed on 2015/02/18
3) P. V. Bruyns, “Huernia kennedyana Lavranos: a rare Stapeliad from the Eastern Cape Province” The National Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1 (MARCH 1982), pp. 21-23
Huernia kennedyana Photo by: © Plantemania
Huernia kennedyana Photo by: Luiza Ferreira
Huernia kennedyana Photo by: Luiza Ferreira
Huernia kennedyana Photo by: Giuseppe Distefano
Cultivation and Propagation: Huernia kennedyanaa is an easy obliging blooming plant when mature, that it is happy in any average succulent house.
Spring: When winter ends and they begin to grow again, they will require much water and soaking the pots will no longer put the plants at risk for rot. In the spring they will grow well in partial shade and leaving them out in the rain may provide them with the water they need.
Summer: In the summer months they will tolerate heavy rain, but will be just as happy if the season is dry. It's best to sort out the stems while the plants are resting in the summer before they begin their autumnal growth cycle. They will tolerate very hot weather outdoors as long as they are kept in filtered light and this will encourage them to flower in the Autumn. They also enjoy some fertiliser. Moving the plants as they are developing buds may cause them to spontaneously abort the flowers all together.
Autumn: In the fall keep them outdoors until the night time temperatures drop below the 10°C.
Winter: Winter care presents no problems at 10° C with plenty of light. As soon as they are flowered be sure to take extra precautions to keep them dry, because damp cool conditions when the plants are resting is an invitation to fungal infections, but - according to temperatures –some occasional lit watering may be useful.
Potting medium: Since roots are quite shallow, use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or pumice to regular soil potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining compost is suitable, and clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering. Re-pot every 2 years.
Pest and diseases: Huernia are generally fairly easy to grow, especially if kept pest-free. They are very susceptible to stem and root mealy bugs, and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack. Any time when there is a dead or dying stem in the pot it is important to remove it immediately and completely before other healthy stems can become ill too, isolate the healthy parts, dry them off, and re-root them in new compost.
Propagation: Easiest with stem cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry a day before planting. Stems must be laid (Not buried) on gritty compost and will then root from the underside of the stems. It can also be increased from seeds sowing in spring in moist, sandy peat moss. Barely cover seeds. Seeds germinate quickly.
In any season it's best to lay the stems out for several days before replanting them and then pot them only in dry soil and withhold any water until they begin to shrivel or start growing again.
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