Identifying Ruschia from Lampranthus

Identifying Ruschia from Lampranthus - Southern Africa : It is easy to tell Lampranthus from Ruschia (Mesembryanthemidae), if you simply suck on the seed capsule. Both genera are serotinous (store the seeds on the plant), and thus identification to genus is easy. Here are the open (sucked - 2-5 minutes will d

  • Ruschia
  • Lampranthus

It is easy to tell Lampranthus from Ruschia (Mesembryanthemidae), if you simply suck on the seed capsule. Both genera are serotinous (store the seeds on the plant), and thus identification to genus is easy.
Here are the open (sucked - 2-5 minutes will do) capsules of the genera.

Note that:
* Ruschia has (per chamber) two expanding keels on the outside that absorb water and open the valves, and a closing body to close them as the capsule dries out. Rain splashes the seeds away, and a covering membrane stops them all been washed away at once.
* Lampranthus has (per chamber) two expanding keels on the inside, but also has two valve wings on each side of the valves. A covering membrane is also present, but the closing body is not visible. Funicles (stalks to the seeds) are sometimes visible.

= locule is a fancy word for chamber: there are 5 chambers in a Vygie flower and fruit.

It would really help identification if a sucked capsule could be photographed with any pic: not only is it great fun to see the capsule open, but the structures are amazing in themselves. Please photograph as above, but captions are not needed.

02 Nov 2011
Prix Burgoyne