This non succulent genus akin to Asclepias has a widespread distribution across the African continent.
Kanahia laniflora (Forssk.) R.Br.
This moisture loving species can be found on the banks of rivers and oases from Cameroon in the west across to Kenya and north into Arabia. It does not need any extra heat and is best kept growing throughout the year.
Named for Leslie (Larry) C. Leach (1909 - 96), an English born, self taught botanist in Zimbabwe and South Africa who specialised in the succulent Asclepiads and Euphorbias. The plants in this genus were formerly those smooth stemmed species in the genus Trichocaulon, which had to be reclassified when the type and the remaining spiny stemmed species were incorporated in the genus Hoodia. The distribution is almost exclusively in Namibia, with some small spread into neighbouring regions of Angola, Botswana, and the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
I have found this not a easy genus and the winter of 2002 - 03 proved a disaster for my small collection of these lovely plants. Many of the plants shown here succumbed to an insidious rot which seems to have got in through the roots up into the plant bodies causing their sudden collapse, this despite, or perhaps aided by, the fact they were housed on a heated tray in an attempt to avoid such losses. I have now taken them off the heated tray and keep them much drier in winter although this does of course risk desiccating the roots.
The recent inclusion of the former species Larryleachia simile and Larryleachia felina into this species from Namibia, has increased the variability of the flowers both in size and colour as can be seen here. They can range from 0.6 - 1.5cm in diameter and from white to yellow coloured, variously spotted or striped with purple through to more or less uniformly wine red to purple. Clones 2, 6 and 7 were previously know as Larryleachia felina but are now included in Larryleachia cactiformis.
Having been widened to include the species formerly known as Larryleachia dinteri, Larryleachia keetmanshoopense and Larryleachia sinus-luederitzii as well as Larryleachia marlothii, this species now has the widest distribution, ranging from the borders of Angola down through Namibia and into the Northern Cape Province. Flower size ranges 0.8-1.6cm in diameter and the colour ranges from cream speckled red as in the plants pictured through to uniformly purple. CM0110P was found in 2001 at Witvoorkop, NE of Beauvallon in the Northern Cape just across the border from Namibia. CM0106S was grown from seed collected on the
This is a tall growing species- up to 30cm- found on both sides of the Orange River, i.e. Namibia and the Northern Cape Province. Flower colour can be either red or greenish white dotted with red. The species now includes the former Trichocaulon cinereum, Trichocaulon kubusense and Trichocaulon truncatum species
Closely related to Larryleachia cactiformis this species, which includes the former Larryleachia meloformis and Trichocaulon engleri can be found from central Botswana into south western Namibia on the eastern edge of the winter rainfall region.
Sadly these species have never set seed which can provide a useful aid in identification - the follicles of L.cactiformis and L.perlata both diverge at 180°, but whilst those of the former reach 2- 3cm in length, those of the latter average 6cm. Likewise the follicles of L.marlothii and L.picta both diverge at 30 - 60°, but whilst those of L.picta rarely exceed 4.5cm, those of L.marlothii range from 5 - 9.5cm.
There is also a further species not pictured here, Larryleachia tirasmontana, from Namibia which is thought by some to be merely a sub species of Larryleachia picta.