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Products > Ruschia lineolata
Ruschia lineolata - Carpet of Stars

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aizoaceae (Ice Plants)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pink & White
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: [Mesembryanthemum lineolatum]
Height: Prostrate
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Ruschia lineolata (Carpet of Stars) - A dense mat forming evergreen plant that grows 1 to 2 inches tall and spreads to several feet wide with thin red stems bearing small 1/2 inch long green narrow triquetrous (3-angled) succulent leaves. These leaves are held in opposite pairs perpendicular to the previous pair in a neat crisscross manner with new leaves emerging like small pursed lips. In early spring appear in mass the 1 inch wide white flowers that have a distinct magenta-pink midstripe; from a distance the flowers appear pink but on close inspection are attractively candy-striped. There can also be a second lighter flowering in fall. Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil and irrigate infrequently to occasionally - this is a summer dry drought tolerant plant! Tolerates cold temperatures down to at least 25F and handles high temperatures - one of our customers in the low desert notes it handled hot days to 120 F without damage! We also grow another species of Ruschia, the larger Ruschia uncinata, that likewise handles these hot conditions. Ruschia lineolata will maintain its neat carpet look for at least 3 to 4 years, but when it begins to expose its basal woody stems it can be replanted from cuttings taken from the existing plants and these root quite readily. Like several other mesembs (ice plant relatives), Ruschia lineolata is great as weed smothering groundcover and for erosion control on slopes or around other dry growing plants. It has also been recommended as a low water substitute for a grass lawn, requiring no mowing and tolerating occasional foot traffic or for use between stepping-stones in a walkway. Its low habit and light weight should also make it quite useful on the green roof. As a bonus it is attractive in flower and attracts bees and other pollinating insects. The natural range of Ruschia lineolata is often listed as unknown because its type locality was not well identified when first described as Mesembryanthemum lineolatum in 1821 in Revisiones Plantarum Succulentarum by the British botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth (1768-1833). Haworth was not a field botanist and plants described by him were most often those brought into cultivation in England by plant explorers such as Francis Masson, William John Burchell and James Bowie and then grown by Hardy at Kew Gardens. This species was included in the genus Ruschia in 1926 by Martin Heinrich Gustav Schwantes, a German botanist who specialized in the Aizoaceae (Mesemb) family. Recent sources note that this species comes from the Western Cape Province of South Africa where it grows in the Renosterveld (means "rhinoceros-field") and succulent Karoo plant communities, often on shale ridges along dry stream beds. The genus was named after Ernst Rusch (1867-1957), whose farm called Lichtenstein was near Windhoek in Namibia. The specific epithet is Latin for having small lines, which is interpreted by some to be describing the stripes in the flowers but when Haworth described the plant he made reference to the "tumid sheaths" so this it actually is describing the distinct lines on the leaf sheaths. This plant was first distributed by the International Succulent Institute in 2009 as Ruschia lineolata (Haw.) Schwantes ISI-2009-26 and were plants the Huntington Botanic Garden had accessioned as HBG 98585 that came from a seed grown plant from the late Michael Vassar (MV7254S) with the seed he obtained from a Botanical Society of South Africa seed list in February, 1996. The image on this page from this ISI Ruschia lineolata webpage.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Ruschia lineolata.