Edithcolea grandis (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
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Edithcolea grandis N.E.Br.


Protologue: Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1895: 220 (1895).
Family: Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)

Synonyms

  • Edithcolea sordida N.E.Br. (1903).

Vernacular names

  • Persian carpet flower (En).
  • Tapis persan (Fr).

Origin and geographic distribution

Edithcolea grandis has been found wild in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen. Occasionally it is cultivated in ‘desert gardens’.

Uses

In Ethiopia and Somalia the stems are eaten as a vegetable. Edithcolea grandis has potential as an ornamental succulent with beautiful flowers. The flowers have been described as: ‘resembling a Tudor Rose in shape and with a colour more like a beautifully toned Persian carpet than anything else’.

Botany

  • Succulent, perennial, leafless, decumbent herb, up to 30(–75) cm tall; stem 2–3 cm in diameter, more or less branched, glabrous, 5-angled, angles armed with hard, brown, very acute, spinelike teeth.
  • Flowers usually solitary at the apex of the branches, bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 1.5–2 cm long; calyx divided with ovate-lanceolate lobes 8 mm × 2 mm; corolla rotate, 8–12.5 cm in diameter, tube 6–8 mm × 3–9 mm, disk with concentric dark red ridges, usually white-yellowish with dark purple-brown spots confluent at the base of each lobe in an arc, lobes ovate-acute, up to 5 cm × 2.5–3 cm, bordered with long clavate purple hairs to about the middle where the borders incurve and form a broad hairy arc across each of the lobes, usually dark purple-brown above the hairy arc; outer corona consisting of oblong, acutely bifid lobes 1 mm long, inner corona of erect fleshy lobes 2 mm long, inflexed over the anthers; ovary superior, style not exceeding the anthers, stigma 5-lobed.

A form with profusely branching stems and a rather shrubby growth, and obtuse stem-angles which are often spirally twisted, has been separated as var. baylissiana Lavranos & Hardy.

Ecology

In the wild Edithcolea grandis grows in desert-like, dry and hot localities, in full sun or sometimes in the light shade of rocks or other plants, on sandy soils.

Management

Propagation is possible by seed and by cuttings. Stem cuttings root easily and best results are obtained at temperatures above 27°C in light shade; the soil has to be well drained because the plant rots extremely easily. Plants tolerate temperatures as low as 4°C, but the temperature should preferably not drop below 12°C. Established plants need much sun for growth, so cultivation is difficult in many temperate regions. Cultivated plants are offered for sale in Europe for € 7.5-11.

Genetic resources

In the wild, Edithcolea grandis is found very locally and it should be protected wherever it grows.

Prospects

Although the stems of Edithcolea grandis are said to be edible, its commercial cultivation (possibly including tissue culture propagation) and trade as an ornamental may have more potential.

Major references

  • Lavranos, J.J. & Hardy, D.S., 1963. A new variety of Edithcolea from Tanganyika. Journal of South African Botany 29: 21–23.
  • Schlieben, H.J., 1963. Edithcolea - Decabelone. Der Palmengarten 27: 17–20.
  • White, A. & Sloane, B.L., 1937. The Stapelieae. 3 volumes. 2nd Edition. Pasadena, California, United States. 1186 pp.

Other references

  • Brown, N.E., 1902–1904. Asclepiadaceae. In: Thiselton-Dyer, W.T. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 4(1). Lovell Reeve & Co, London, United Kingdom. pp. 231–503.
  • Westphal, E., 1975. Agricultural systems in Ethiopia. Agricultural Research Reports 826. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands. 278 pp.

Author(s)

  • P.C.M. Jansen, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Jansen, P.C.M., 2004. Edithcolea grandis N.E.Br. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands.

Accessed 17 July 2021.