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Products > Trichodiadema barbatum
 
Trichodiadema barbatum - Pickle Plant
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aizoaceae (Ice Plants)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Mesembryanthemum barbatum]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Trichodiadema barbatum (Pickle Plant) - A relatively slow growing succulent that is at first erect to 6 to 12 inches and then lays over to become a groundcover with a tuberous root base barely exposed and cylindrical 1/4 to 1/2 inch long succulent green leaves tipped with tufty bristles of soft white hairs. From later winter to mid spring appear the small magenta pink flowers with yellow center that open fully around midday when grown in bright light or full sun. Plant in a well-drained soil where it tolerates full to part day sun - best with some protection when tuberous roots are elevated for display. Water occasionally to very little in spring and summer - with its tuberous roots can be forgiving of infrequent missed watering, even when growing in a container. Hardy to around 25F or lower for short durations but prolonged subfreezing temperatures are liable to damage caudex if exposed. This very interesting succulent is similar to the more common Trichodiadema bulbosum that is often seen is cactus and succulent collections and shows, but this species has more yellowish tuberous roots that are not as thick, greener foliage and pink flowers instead of the purple of T. bulbosum. As with T. bulbosum, grow plants for a few years with roots buried and then elevate the caudex and place in a nice bonsai container or ornamental pot to display the interesting roots. Trim off top growth only to keep growth tighter so it does not hide the caudex. Though original collection location is unknown and Linnaeus described the plant based on paintings of two slightly different forms listed from "Cape" of South Africa, it is listed by some as coming from East Cape Province and into the Little Karoo in West Cape. The genus name comes from Greek 'trix' meaning "hair" and 'diadema' meaning "crown" in reference to the bristle hairs that top each leaf and the specific epithet means "bearded" or "barbed" in reference to the crown (the diadem) of bristle hairs at the tips of the leaves. Another common name is Bearded Crownfig. Members of this genus are also called "vye veld" as they are valuable in pasture management with the new growth that is browsed back to the persistent base by domestic animals. This plant was awarded the Royal Horticulture Award of Garden Merit in 2012 and the British Cactus and Succlent Society says on their Twitter Page that "Trichodiadema barbatum is a great looking mesemb that should be grown more often."  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Trichodiadema barbatum.
 
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