Monday, February 24, 2014

Adromischus cristatus: The Key Lime Pie Plant, Continued

Here's my Key Lime Pie Plant when it first came to my indoor garden:
A young Adromischus cristatus, photo MR
And here it is today. See if you can spot the difference....
Look at those spiky stems and all that orange stuff. I wanted to know more about the changes in my Key Lime Pie plant. So, as always, I researched.

The orange and white "hairs" are actually aerial roots. Not a heck of a lot is known about aerial roots, but they can serve several functions. Some absorb needed gases from the air, when the rest of the roots are underwater, or in waterlogged soil. Mangroves do this.
Adventitious roots on a mangrove, photo by MR.
But in the very dry Eastern Cape of South Africa, waterlogged soils are probably not even on the radar. So why all the roots? They are there to absorb water from the occasionally humid or foggy atmosphere. Roots above and below ground give greater opportunity to the plant to absorb precious water. And just looking at my plant, I can see that the tiny leaves on top of the long, rooted stems could conceivably become new plants if the stems broke off from the mother plant. Just sayin'! Neither Court nor Dortort mention that, but I'm thinking that could be useful for the plant. There's apparently a lot more room for research on the function of aerial roots. What do you think they are all about?

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