The genus Tavaresia includes at least 2 species (T. barkleyi, T. angolensis) of spiny stem succulents from Angola, S. Africa, Namibia and Zimbawe. A third species Tavaresia thompsoniorum may be a natural hybrid. The genus has also been known as Decabelone.
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.
Photo: Mike Harvey
Tavaresia barklyi (Dyer) N.E. Brown 1903 (Devil's Trumpet)
Syn. Tavaresia grandiflora (K. Schumann) A. Berger 1910, Decabelone barklyi Dyer 1875
Named for: Sir Henry Barkly (1815 - 1898) Governor of the Cape who collected this species
This Asclepiad consists of a clump of short 10-12 angled tuberculate stems. Each tubercle has 3 white spines.
The large funnel-shaped flowers up to 4 in long, are mottled maroon on their outside and cream speckled with a darker colour inside, becoming completely maroon near the base of the flower. The flower tube has five pointed tips.
Native to a wide range of Summer rainfall areas of Southern Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
These succulents are notoriously difficult and need to be kept bone-dry and warm during the Winter or they will collapse into a heap of mush. However, the same warm dry condiions may also lead to loss of roots making rehydration problematic in the Spring. Flower buds are sensitive to touch and to their environment and easily lost.
Hybridisation with Stapeliae is possible. The natural hybrid Tavaresia barklyi x Stapelia gigantea has been described as Tavaresia meintjiesii.