Pedaliaceae R. Brown 1810
The Pedaliaceae is a small family of around 16 genera and 100 species of dicotyledenous flowering herbs and shrubs from sub-tropical to tropical desert and coastal habitats. Flowers often have a tubular form with prominent lips.
Stems and leaves often carry mucilaginous hairs and often bear fruit capsules or nuts with hooks, spikes or wings which are designed to catch on and attach to passing animals as a method of distributing the seed over substantial distances. It has been suggested that the spiny fruits of Uncarina evolved to be distributed by the feet of the now-extinct elephant birds of Madagascar.
Sesamum indicum is cultivated for its edible oily sesame seeds.
Succulent genera: Proboscidea (Devil's Claw), Pterodiscus, Sesamothamnus. The genus Uncarina includes attractive flowering caudiciform shrubs.
Uncarina Stapf 1895
Name: Latin uncus = hook, barb, referring to the spiny fruits.
Uncarina is a small genus including 13 small succulent trees or shrubs native to Madagascar. All species have swollen caudiciform bases and tuberous roots which in cultivation are sometimes raised for display. The large yellow, pink or white flowers are pollinated by beetles.
Coming from tropical Madagascar these succulent plants need warmth to grow but will tolerate a cool, dry Winter. During the Summer growing season they require regular watering.
Uncarina grandidieri Stapf 1895
Named for: Alfred Grandidier (1836-1921), French explorer and naturalist.
This small 12 ft succulent tree has a swollen caudiciform base to its main trunk. The deciduous leaves, with red stems and margins, are pubescent and feel slightly sticky, producing an unpleasant odour when rubbed. The bright yellow flowers with dark throats are pollinated by beetles and have sticky pollen suited to this task. The fruit capsules have many short petioles with clusters of small inwardly-pointing barbs to catch on to animals (and unwary fingers) and assist seed dispersal.
Native to dry forests of Madagascar. Dormant during the winter.