The Mysterious Mezoo, Part 2
A little over a month ago, I got peeved with our suppliers because what I was sure was a wrongly-named plant –Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’, which I thought was more likely Aptenia cordifolia.
Soon, though, I began to feel unsure about my own ID, even though I was still sure it was not Dorotheanthus bellidiformis.
Another couple of weeks have passed, during which I’ve glared at the mysterious ‘Mezoo’s whenever I happened to be in their greenhouse. They continued to grow and grow, the leaves getting larger and larger (four or five cm by now), the stems thicker, altogether much bigger than Aptenia.
And yet… except for the size, they look a lot alike.
I bought one yesterday, to be able to compare the plants at home, and took some pictures today that will hopefully be able to show what I’ve observed over the last weeks.
They’ve got the same leaf shape and texture – glossy and smooth to the touch, even though the dotted surface makes them look like they ought to be covered in tiny dimples – and (although it doesn’t show well in the pictures), the same four-sided stem.
Direct comparison of leaf shape, size and texture:
To sum up, they do look like the same thing to me after all, except that ‘Mezoo’ is much bigger.
Theatrum Botanicum, in one of his comments (on this post) suggests a polyploid Aptenia cordifolia, and a previous idea was that it might be a different species of Aptenia. Will we ever know? I’ll definitely grow the two side by side this summer and watch, compare flowers and fruits if I get them.
I’ve also started some Dorotheanthus bellidiformis seeds, even though I already know ‘Mezoo’ is something different.
They’re tiny still, and there are far too many of them, even after I thinned them out. I knew I didn’t need more than a plant or two, but I guess I just can’t help myself – I feel so sorry for all those seeds in the packet, not being allowed to grow and sow far too many (and then, of course, I rip out and kill more than half of them…)
While I was thinning them out, the following conversation occurred:
Me, ‘Oh look, a few’ve already got true leaves. And they sparkle!’
Best friend, ‘Are they vampires?’
That question always, inevitably, follows any mention of the word ‘sparkle’.
We then had to get out the magnifying glass so I could prove it was the texture, not hairs (as my best friend insisted), that made the leaves sparkle.
I’ll just have to hope they don’t come to suck my blood …
And that picture in the balcony plants book?
I said in the previous ‘Mysterious Mezoo’ post that this might be a Caprobrotus species, and I’m now relatively sure that it is Caprobrotus edulis,which according to the Wikipedia article, is an invasive plant in the Mediterranean – I’ve seen it both in Sardinia and mainland Italy.