Botany Photo of the Day
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Senecio rowleyanus

Senecio rowleyanus

The longest running plant sale at the garden occurs today and tomorrow: the 29th Annual Indoor Plant Sale. I had a grand time yesterday trying to photograph a few of the plants available, since I don't often get the opportunity to work with indoor plants.

A native of southwestern Africa, “string of beads” grows in arid habitats. The succulent beads are actually the leaves, modified for living through extended periods of drought. Dr. T. Ombrello of Union County College has written an intriguing article on the adaptations of this Senecio and the closely related Senecio herreianus, entitled Senecios, With Windows in Their Leaves. The narrow bands you can see on some of the beads consist of transparent tissue to allow light to penetrate the interior of the bead and increase photosynthesis without increasing water loss.

It might be worth revisiting my comments on diversity within the Asteraceae in the BPotD entry on Raoulia australis. There is simply an amazing amount of diversity of form and structure in this plant family.


Senecio rowleyanus - Z9 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths

Cool plant! I followed your suggestion to follow up on Aster diversity. Mind boggling - as is all of nature when you get right down to it. Thanks again for a great site. Deb L.

My ex-supervisor assures me that it is: 'now known (I believe) only in greenhouses. The bloke who found it in the wild apparently couldn't remember where he got it! It propagates easily and looks peculiar - hence its evolutionary success in horticulture!'

Can this be true?

Alec, not sure. Not finding anything online, which will mean a search in the literature.

Thanks Deb.

i have the string of beads at home it is the coolest plant ever and it is easy to take care of....~kahla~

I have this plant,I heard it called Buddha's bead by the chinese. It is a very cool plant indeed. I don't know much about it so im researching.I have to transplant it soon. Any info would be greatly apreciated.

Our family have had bead plants over the past 20+ years all of which came from a tiny plant my Mam bought in her local post office. The plant takes beautifully from cuttings. Generally I found it likes easy draining soil and is much more likely to die of over watering than under!! Likes good light and a little light feeding from time to time. I've even had it flower.

Hi there!
I just bought two "string of beads" plants at the A&P gocery store garden center, planted in little hanging baskets. They look like peas!!! Does anyone know if the plants can handle direct sunshine? Also, do the plants ever need to be fertilized? How do you take cuttings from this plant, and root them? Anyone who has knowledge - please share - I'd sure appreciate it. Thanx. Sherry.
from Ontario, Canada

These are gorgeous little things. The "beads" have a nice solid texture, and a lovely weighty feel in your hand. And it looks very pretty and elegant, with the branches draping straight down from a hanging pot.

I first saw String of Beads decades ago, at the home of an elderly green-thumbed friend of my mother. It seemed very rare and exotic, and I bought one for myself. At the time, the name I heard was "string of pearls". As for the little windows in the leaves... well, that's the final detail that could just send you over the edge, in love. :o)
(...I think I might have to buy one of these again.)

The links above are great -- an absolutely amazing diversity.

I have a string of pearls that i have had for years, but i have given out cuttings, and i barely have any plant left. i am looking to buy another one. can anyone help. i live in ipswich, uk.

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