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Products > Fockea edulis
 
Fockea edulis - Hottentot Bread
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweeds)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green & White
Bloomtime: Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Fockea cylindrica]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Fockea edulis (Hottentot Bread) A thin vining semi-evergreen plant that can grow stems 10 feet long or more, arising from large (to 2 feet wide) succulent tuberous roots that are twisted and gray colored with wart-like bumps called tubercules. The stems are leafy, with 1/2 to 1 inch long gray-green oval leaves, will climb up on any available support and will lose some leaves in winter but rarely goes completely leafless. This plant is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The flowers usually appear in summer have thick narrow green calyces and white petals and appendages with 2 inch long gray-green fruit forming on pollinated female plants. Grow in full sun (when caudex is buried) to light shade and in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently. Can be grown in the ground but this plant is usually seen as an attractive potted specimen that is quite tolerant of going quite dry between watering but watch that the base does not shrivel and keep the elevated caudex partially shaded in summer. Hardy to light frost and short duration temperatures down to around 25F. This is a great caudiciform forming plant to elevate for display in a nice shallow pot. In the wild, the caudex is partially or totally buried and tends to grow faster this way. Succulent growers will often keep their plant buried deep in plastic pots until the roots deform or even split the pots, letting the grower know it is time to repot or elevate the tuberous root for display. Train the stems up on some framework or trim to keep from growing over other nearby plants. Fockea edulis is listed as a protected as under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It grows naturally in the warm dry succulent scrub community and dry savannah of the Western Cape through Eastern Cape of South Africa north into Swaziland. The name for the genus honors the Dutch botanist Charles Focke (1802-1856) and the specific epithet, meaning edible, is a reference to the use of the fleshy tuber as food and for moisture in dry parts of Southern Africa. The common name Hottentot Bread is also a reference to this use but this practice is not recommended for the inexperienced as an elaborate cooking procedure is required to rid it of dangerous alkaloids. Our plants were seed raised from succulent grower David Tufenkian.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Fockea edulis.