Senecio archeri (Archer's Senecio) - A low small growing succulent that spreads by rhizomes with unusual short flat lanceolate leaves that are held near the top of short stems that are often erect, but with age lay over and snake about on the ground. The leaves are a blue-green color and covered with a gray waxy coating and have parallel translucent lines on each side of the leaf blade. The small whitish-yellow rayless brush-like flower heads rise up on short erect stalks in fall.
Plant in full to part sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally to very little. Has proven hardy to around 28° F and likely is tolerant to temperatures slightly below this. This is an interesting gray groundcover that has unique flattened foliage, but otherwise is similar to the other groundcover Senecio.
Senecio archeri comes from the winter rainfall south-western parts of the Western Cape Province, South Africa where it occurs in rocky areas. Its currently correct name is Curio archeri and is closely related to String of Tears, Curio citriformis, which occurs in the Little Karoo to the north, as well as to Curio crassulifolius and Curio repens (syn. Senecio serpens).
The genus name Curio means "to lean" in reference to several related species with a leaning or decumbent habit. The specific epithet honors the Australian botanist and botanical illustrator Willian Archer. This plant has also previously been called Senecio toxotis and it can still be found in some references under this name. This epithet reportedly comes from the plant having toxic properties and it has also been erroneously mislabeled by European nurseries as Senecio aizoides. Though the most recent treatment has this plant and its relatives as being in the genus Curio, until such time as this gets wider recognition, we continue to list them all in the genus Senecio. We thank John Bleck for sharing this plant with us.
Information about Senecio archeri displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.