Semi-deciduous caudiciform plant with interesting fat, twisted roots.
Rottstock (Caudex): Thick grey, up to 30(-60) cm in diameter,
with small tubercules on it. In the wild, the caudex is partially or totally
buried. It tends to grow faster when buried.
Leaves: Green, entire and oblong. It is deciduous, and all foliage
will be lost during the winter dormancy period.
Stems: It looks like it has two kinds of branches, one
tree-like, the other vines. The thin vine branches
may reach a length of 80cm or more, and climb on any type of available
Flowers: Whitish-green, not very showy but lightly scented,
0.6-1.5 cm wide. Fockeas are dioecious, so a male plant and a female
plant are needed to produce seeds. The flowers are pollinated by fruit
Blooming season: Late summer.
Fruits: Grey pods.
Uses: Though the name 'edulis' indicates the plant is edible (It
was eaten by the native population of Southern Africa), a long and
elaborated cooking procedure is however required to rid the plant of the
alkaloids which are present. [We do not suggest plants for
Cultivation: This species is
of easy cultivation and hardy. Although it shows decreased
activity in the January – April period, it never goes into complete
dormancy and always carries some leaves. Conversely
it can be deciduous in winter if
kept cold and dry. The plant will take regular water and fertilizer in
summer. Rot prone in winter;
keep on the dry side and water only enough
to keep the tuber from shrivelling. It grows well in most soils,
only requires very fast drainage. Hardy to -2°C,
it will take some frost
for a short period of time. Plants grown outdoors may endure
relatively wet, cold rainy winters. It prefers sun or light shade, but the
tuber should stay constantly in the shade.
It is a vigorous twiner and is best trained around a hoop or up a
framework, but tends to vine around nearby plants if kept in
a pot on
a shelf, so it needs to be controlled a bit... give it something to wind
around to keep it away from the other plants. The fockeas are pest free
outdoors, but may attract whiteflies if kept in humid greenhouse
environments, and some kind of control might be needed. Reliable as a
permanent collector's plant.
Propagation: Fockea edulis is best propagated from seed.
Cuttings will give limited success.