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The Mysterious Mezoo, Part 2

April 14, 2010

A little over a month ago, I got peeved with our suppliers because what I was sure was a wrongly-named plantDorotheanthus 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.

Aptenia cordifolia

My mother’s Aptenia cordifolia, and my ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’

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.

Mezoo

‘Mezoo Trailing Red’

Aptenia cordifolia (it’s a good thing I repotted this a few weeks ago, or it would be looking rather pathetic – see those small shrivelled leaves on the right side? That’s what the whole plant looked like.)

Direct comparison of leaf shape, size and texture:

Aptenia cordifolia

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.

Dorotheanthus bellidiformis

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…)

Dorotheanthus seedlings with sparkling leaves

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?

Carpobrotus edulis?

Most definitely not Dorotheanthus bellidiformis

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.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2010 06:08

    I’ve never seen an Aptenia with leaves that big, that really makes it seem like a polyploid Aptenia.

  2. Tom permalink
    October 8, 2016 20:15

    Hi,

    The little leaves are those of Aptenia cordifolia, the big leaf form is the variegation of Aptenia ‘Red Apple’ (hybrid of Aptenia cordifolia x A. haeckeliana).

    • October 8, 2016 20:28

      It’s so funny to get a comment on this post again! (I actually just recently mentioned it to someone at work.)

      (Am I correctly assuming that you’re the same Tom as the one who used to run theatrumbotanicum? If so, great to hear from you again – I hope you’re doing well!)

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  1. The Mysterious Mezoo, Part 3 « Letters & Leaves

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