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Products > Malephora purpureo-crocea
Malephora purpureo-crocea - Coppery Mesemb
Image of Malephora purpureo-crocea
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aizoaceae (Ice Plants)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [M. crocea var. purpureo-crocea
Height: <1 foot
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Malephora purpureo-crocea (Coppery Mesemb) - An evergreen spreading and mat-forming succulent to 8 to 12 inches tall and spreading 4 feet or more with corky to woody stems that root along contact with soil from which emerge the inch long pale gray-green succulent leaves that are semi-cylindrical (slightly triangular in cross section) and often take on a tint of red near the leaf tips. The flowers, which appear nearly year-round, are borne on a short stalks that rise it above the foliage with many narrow petals that are various shades of dark brick-red to reddish purple. Plant in full to part sun in a well drained soil and irrigate occasionally to infrequently - a heat and drought tolerant plant. Listed as hardy to around 15 F. Tolerates alkaline and seashore conditions. It is nice as a large potted specimen and makes a solid drought tolerant groundcover on a slope or well drained level ground in full or part sun where its cheery flowers are attractive to bees and insects but it does not lend itself to areas where there is foot traffic. Though an attractive groundcover this plant has escaped cultivation in some areas and should not be planted near the urban and wildland interface, particularly near any salt marshes or wetland where it may spread unchecked. Coppery Mesemb is native to The Karoo Desert and Namaqualand in South Africa. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'mal' meaning "arm-hole" or "arm pit" and 'pherein' meaning "to bear", thought to be a reference to the connection attachment between the stem and the opposite leaves that are slightly fused at the base. The specific epithet is Latin referring to the color purple and saffron-yellow in reference to the flower color of some forms of this species. It was previously included as a variety of Malephora crocea and is sometimes confused with the somewhat similar Cephalophyllum stayneri with some online references using pictures of one when describing the other. Cephalophyllum stayneri is lower growing with longer more rounded leaves and slightly larger flowers. 

This information about Malephora purpureo-crocea displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.