Fenestraria rhopalophylla in bloom

     Fenestraria is a monotypic genus found along the coast in Richtersveld, South Africa and Namibia. Fenestraria rhopalophylla is an odd and beautiful plant commonly called "Baby Toes". It consists of tubular leaves with translucent windows in the tips that allow light into the leaf for photosynthesis. I have read that in the wild the plant is almost completely buried in the sand with just the leaf tips protruding above the surface. This makes the plant almost invisible to foraging animals. White or yellow flowers appear in fall.
     Fenestrarias are rot prone and should be potted in a fast draining mix and watered sparingly. I wait till the stems shrivel a little and then water them. Probably about once a week when it's real hot. Fenestrarias can be propagated from seed or division.
     I've never had much luck with this plant, they always rot on me. This year I think I was saved by the greenhouse. Two of them survived, grew and one even flowered. There must be two separate plants in the clump above, I can't explain the two different colored flowers any other way.

More Fenestraria pics
Click on a thumbnail below.

The other batch


All images and text are copyright 2005 to present, D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.