Astroloba cremnophila



Astroloba cremnophila, near Buffelspoort, photo by Steven Molteno
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. 



Flower detail, photo by Steven Molteno
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.

Astroloba cremnophila, near Buffelspoort, photo by Steven Molteno
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. 

Known locality:
  • Buffelspoort
Astroloba cremnophila, near Buffelspoort, photo by Steven Molteno
Astroloba cremnophila, near Buffelspoort, photo by Steven Molteno
Locality of A. cremnophila, near Buffelspoort, photo by Steven Molteno

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