Petalidium ramulosum

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You there! WHAT do you make of this? So clearly related to the ‘dense heads’ clade (not that we have much understanding of the phylogeny of Petalidium…. yet), but with heads much more lax than those of its close relatives, which we presume to be: P. setosum, P. lanatum, P. halimoides, P. canescens, and perhaps P. angustitibum (among other Angolan delicacies).

Petalidium ramulosum is absolutely distinctive within the genus by its low, creeping habit (check out those adventitious roots…don’t be jealous!). Although one can find this species on a few ‘roadsides’ in Namibia (roadsides in quotes because most Namibian roadsides are nearly as pristine as the rest of the landscape), you’ll be lucky if you do. It rarely exceeds 10 cm in height and spends its days buried far underneath the dense grasses. You would seek shelter from the scorching Namibian sun, too…

Moral of story: don’t settle for being an underdog. Look up to this species, which hasn’t let its short stature or unemphatic, low-profile give it a complex…Oh no. She creeps proudly!

Like any good Petalidium, this species has a rather restricted / limited distribution, worldwide. I don’t know how Kyle and I were so lucky to have found it. Its inflorescences remind me most of those of Petalidium angustitibum (check out photos of that species on this website), and I’d not be surprised if the two were each others closest relatives. Lucky them.

Wild collected, Namibia, Tripp & Dexter #4120 (RSA); Photos by Erin Tripp.

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