Tavaresia Welwitsch (1854)
The genus Tavaresia includes at least 2 species (T. barkleyi, T. angolensis) of spiny stem succulents from Angola, S. Africa, Namibia and Zimbawe. The genus has also been known as Decabelone.
named for: José Tavares de Macedo, Portuguese botanist
Short, erect, 6-14 angled stems carry rows of tubercles furnished with 3 fine white spines which gives the plants a cactoid appearance. Technically, these spines represent a modified leaf spine with 2 side stipules, unique to this genus. Stems take on a dramatic dark colouration in a sunny position, contrasting with the spines. The large funnel-shaped flowers make these plants attractive to collectors. Swellings near the tips of the coronal lobes are also unique to this genus.
Cultivation is demanding as these plants from summer rainfall areas, are intolerant of excess water, humidity and low winter temperatures and easily destroyed by moulds. Flower buds drop off easily in response to the slightest touch or unfavourable conditions. Hybridisation with Stapeliae is possible.
Photo: Mike Harvey