Astroloba cremnophila

Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila van Jaarsveld
by Steven Molteno and Jakub Jilemicky

cremnophila: lover of cliffs!

The rarest Astroloba is also the newest one to be discovered and declared. Known only from the rocky mountain sides and sheer cliff faces of the Buffelspoort gorge, this has an extremely inaccessible habitat. It is an obvious close relative of Astroloba bullulata just to the North, and is distinguished only by its different leaf shape and leaf colour – blue-green in the shade, reddish purple in the sun. Its tubercles are normally white, and its leaves end in sharp upward points. 



Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
The inflorescence is nearly identical to that of bullulata, but is a green-grey colour, rather than yellowish. It flowers in summer, from November until April. 

Distribution map
Astroloba cremnophila occurs in Gamka thicket vegetation in the Buffelspoort gorge. Here it usually hangs from near-vertical cliff faces, but can also be found on rocky ledges which are (happily) a bit more accessible for photographers. It has the smallest distribution range of any Astroloba. It grows together with Astroloba corrugata and natural hybrids of these two were observed (see photo below the article).
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Very little known regarding its cultivation requirements. However the discoverer, Ernst van Jaarsveld explains that it is easy to cultivate in sandy, nutrient-poor, mildly acidic soil, with partial shade and extremely minimal water throughout the year. He adds that it is very slow growing.
Flower detail, photo by Steven Molteno
 Known locality:
  • Buffelspoort, South (3320BD)
  • Buffelspoort, North (3320BD)
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Locality of Astr. cremnophila, Buffelspoort, North. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
Astroloba cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
Locality of Astr. cremnophila, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO
natural hybrid of A. cremnophila and A. corrugata, Buffelspoort, South. NEW PHOTO

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