Senecio amaniensis (Amani Senecio) - A succulent shrub to 3 to 4 feet tall by as wide with fleshy 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick stems that are erect or decumbent and often well branched. Tends to be more of an interesting low growing plant in the dry garden and a bit more erect and robust with more regular irrigation. It has fleshy oblanceolate 2-to-3-inch long glaucus pale green leaves that are mostly clustered towards the end of the stems that have entire margins with a mucronate point at the rounded leaf tip. In mid-summer appear the well branched 2-foot-long arching inflorescence bearing well-spaced pendulous fat 3/4 inch long capitula (bud like structures) that are a reddish purple gray color and open to reveal bright orange ray florets, which emit a musky smell.
Plant in full sun to bright light shade in a well-drained soil and give infrequent to occasional irrigation. Its frost tolerance it not well known but our plant in the garden survived the January 2007 freeze with 3 nights of short duration temperatures down to 25°F. A very interesting and attractive plant for its glaucus leaves alone and the attractive orange flowers are a bonus though it seems to need full sun and more regular irrigation to produce these. Can be grown in a large pot or in the ground so long as soil drainage is good.
This plant is native to Tanzania and the specific epithet is a reference to the town of Amani, in the Tanga Region of Tanzania. The Kew Herbarium records note that it is also found in the Shinyanga, Lushoto and Kondoa Regions, growing in scrubland from 1,000 to 7,500 feet. Peter Ball's collection in 1945, which is thought to be form in cultivation, was listed as from "scrub country" near Lembeni at approximately 3,000 feet in Tanganyika (an older name for Tanzania).
Senecio amaniensis was first described as Notonia amaniensis by Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler 1905, then renamed Kleinia amaniensis by Alwin Berger in 1910 and then renamed Senecio amaniensis by Hermann Jacobsen in 1951. Senecio decaryi, which we also grow, was mistakenly introduced into the trade under the name Senecio amaniensis and is often still seen listed as such by otherwise reputable nurseries, but these two plants are quite dissimilar and really cannot be mistaken for each other. Recent treatment by some botanists have put this plant (and many other Senecio) back in the genus Kleinia, but until this gets sorted out we continue to list them all in the genus Senecio.
Information about Senecio amaniensis displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.