Avonia harveyi was discovered in 2006, but not named until 2011 when it was published in CactusWorld. It was quickly moved to Anacampseros where avonias are kept these days. Like several other Avonia, it is a miniature plant with a small fat caudex and distinctive stems with tiny leaves almost entirely covered by white scales. The pink flowers, scent, and relatively thick stems distinguish A. harveyi from other avonias. The stems are described as unbranched, although multiple ‘terminal’ flowers can be produced by one stem. The stems are no more than a few centimetres long and the caudex can reach a couple of centimetres wide on an old plant.
In cultivation, full sun is important to prevent the white stems becoming etiolated and green. In a small pot to match the tiny root system, they are relatively trouble-free although occasionally mites can cause a nuisance.
Flowers are produced regularly during the spring and summer, but open for just a brief period on one hot afternoon, if at all. Often, the only sign is the dry seed net that appears a few weeks later. Plants are self-fertile and self-pollinating, but the seeds seem to need considerable encouragement (heat!) to germinate. Initially they just grow a single stem, then produce more stems after a few years. Very old stems are eventually shed.
Text and photos by Ian Nartowicz
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