Astroloba congesta

Astroloba congesta, Committees Drift
Astroloba congesta (Salm-Dyck) Uitewaal

by Jakub Jilemicky and Steven Molteno

The furthest east of all the Astroloba species, congesta has sharp, glossy, smooth leaves, which are usually a dark green colour. Its leaves often occur in vertical ranks or tiers, and are frequently straight or incurved (as opposed to bent outwards or horizontally as in foliolosa). 

Detail of flower of A. congesta from Cradock

The cream-coloured flowers appear in spring and summer (August to January), on tall, usually multi-branched, inflorescences.

Distribution map
This is the easternmost of all the Astrolobas, and the far eastern extreme of the foliolosa complex. It occurs in the Eastern Cape Province, from as far North as Rosmead, to as far South as Alicedale. Its eastern-most locality is Brakkloof, East of Grahamstown. This species inhabits transitional vegetation between Karoo and thicket or grassveld. In the Suurberg Mountains in the South, the congesta plants are small and dark, with rigid leaves in near-perfect tiers. This population was formerly classed as Astroloba deltoidea, but is now accepted as being simply a regional variant of congesta. The form Astroloba turgida is also subsumed within congesta

Astroloba congesta, Committees Drift
In cultivation, it favours a summer watering regime, to match the summer rainfall climate of its natural climate. In addition, extremely well-drained soil and some shelter from full sun assist its growth and appearance.

Astroloba congesta, Oukop, Cradock
Astroloba deltoidea, Astroloba turgida

Known localities:
  • Blauwkrantz, R390 to Cradock (3225BC)
  • Committees Drift (3326B)
  • near Cradock (3225B)
  • near Alicedale (3326A)
  • Fish River, E of Soutvlei (3325BB)
  • S of Grassdale (3226BC) 
  • Suurberg Mountains
  • Brakkloof
  • Rosmead
Astroloba congesta, Committees Drift
Astroloba congesta, Committees Drift
Astroloba congesta, Committees Drift
Locality of A. congesta, Committees Drift

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