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Fockea angustifolia K.Schum.
Cynanchum omissum, Fockea dammarana, Fockea lugardii, Fockea mildbraedii, Fockea monroi, Fockea sessiliflora, Fockea tugelensis
This species is native to Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Fockea angustifolia is a caudiciform plant with erect or climbing stems that grow from a large tuber. The stems are slender, woody, and up to 6.6 feet (2 m) long. They support themselves by twining around other plants or a supporting structure. The tuber can grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter and up to 16 inches (40 cm) long. Leaves are green, elliptic or ovate, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Flowers appear from late summer to early fall. They have five greenish, narrow, twisted outer lobes and white inner ones that are shorter.
The specific epithet "angustifolia" derives from the Latin words "angustus," meaning "narrow" and "folium," meaning "leaf," and refers to the narrow leaves.
How to Grow and Care for Fockea angustifolia
Light: These plants prefer partial shade. They can tolerate full sun but need a little sun protection during the hottest part of the day.
Soil: Fast-draining soil mix is the best soil for your Fockea to drain excess water.
Hardiness: Fockea angustifolia can withstand temperatures as low as 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b.
Watering: During the growing season, from spring to fall, water regularly allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Reduce watering in the winter. Water only enough to prevent the shriveling of the tuber.
Fertilizing: To force tuber growth, feed with high-nitrogen fertilizer with a lower potassium level, only during the growing season.
Propagation: Fockea plants are relatively easy to grow from seeds. They are dioecious, so both male and female plants are needed to produce seeds. Vegetative propagation is difficult to impossible.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Fockea.
Toxicity of Fockea angustifolia
Fockeas are known as food plants, but the tuber has milky sap, which is said to be poisonous. Avoid contact with skin or eyes and keep away from children and pets.
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Fockea angustifolia is a climbing, perennial, succulent plant producing several stems from a tuberous rootstock. The stems can be erect or climbing, supporting themselves by twining around other plants. The caudex can grow to 25 centimetres in diameter and 40 centimetres long, the vines can reach one and a half meter. The flowers are from greenish to white, and vary in size, depending on the origin.
The plant is harvested from the wild for its large, edible root, which is eaten locally.
Fockea angustifolia - garden
Habitat: Namibia and South Africa
Cultivation: The Fockea is a sturdy plant. It is recommended not to expose it to direct sun during the hottest hours of the day, watering once every 5-6 days and use sufficiently deep vessels.
Curiosity: Some Fockea specimens were used, in the past, for human consumption by the local populations. In particular, the Fockea edulis keeps track of this use also in the name (edulis which means “edible” in Latin). However, it was not an easily accessible food: it always required several hours of cooking to become digestible.
FOCKEA KEY FEATURES
The plants of the genus Fockea are claudiciform succulents from South Africa. The most obvious feature is the large caudex which is located at the base: a woody bulge stem, formed by the union of a dense series of roots on top of the ground, which are able to contain a large amount of water. The color is silver-gray and can take very particular forms such as dimensions, ranging from a diameter of 30 cm to 60 cm for an adult plant. In some species (as in f. Edulis) the caudex can be eaten, although it requires a long and elaborate cooking to liberate the alkaloids which are present in it. From the caudex a series of climbing or creeping stems come out, which generally have a quite rapid growth. The branches become very long and twist on any lifeline that they meet you can prune them in autumn and limit their growth. The leaves are green and oblong they fall during the autumn and winter and then reappear in summer.
The flowers are small and inconspicuous: whitish or yellowish if female, light green if male. They are dioecious plants, so each plant can only have flowers of a specific genre, and to obtain fertile seeds it is necessary a process of pollination from the male to the female plant.
VARIETY AND TYPES
Fockea is a genre that includes a few species, just 6. The most common is the Fockea edulis, which is very durable. Below there is the complete list:
- Fockea angustifolia
- F. capensis
- F. comaru
- F. edulis (detta anche f. cylindrica)
- F. multiflora
- F. sinuata
TIPS FOR GROWING
The Fockea is a strong plant, easy to grow especially if it is adult.
These are our tips for growing:
- The ideal exposure is partially repaired: it can tolerate full sun but only if the rays do not go directly to the plant during the hottest hours. Alternatively, you can place the plant at half sun.
- The minimum temperature is 7 ° C. In general, however, the ideal is around 15 ° C – 20 ° C.
- Water regularly from March to October with a frequency of once every 5-6 days. The caudex, with its shape, can be a good indicator to check that the plant receives enough water because otherwise it will tend to shrivel.
- The soil should be well draining, but enough rich: for example, you can use a mixture of soil for cacti and peat.
- Use a fertilizer rich in potassium and with little nitrogen, only during the growing season.
- Choose a pot fairly deep to leave the right space to the rich root system of the plant.
The reproduction occurs primarily by seed because cuttings do not root easily. As already mentioned, to have fertile seeds it is necessary a female and a male plant.
|Name||Status||Confidence level||Source||Date supplied|
|Cynanchum omissum Bullock||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
|Fockea dammarana Schltr.||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
|Fockea lugardii N.E.Br.||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
|Fockea mildbraedii Schltr.||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
|Fockea monroi S.Moore||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
|Fockea sessiliflora Schltr.||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
|Fockea tugelensis N.E.Br.||Synonym||WCSP (in review)||2012-03-23|
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|Plant Habit:||Cactus/Succulent |
|Life cycle:||Perennial |
|Underground structures:||Caudex |
|Containers:||Needs excellent drainage in pots |
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