In the Garden

What's in Bloom?

There's always something to see at The Ruth Bancroft Garden! Pick up a "What's in Bloom" guide when you check in for your tour. To see what's blooming this month click here to view pdf.

Check out our Flickr Photostream as well! With photos organized by the month they were taken in, you can see what the Garden looks like throughout the year.

October 2017 Plant Highlight: Adromischus marianiae forma herrei

by Brian Kemble


Adromischus is a modest-sized genus of small plants in the Stonecrop Family (Crassulaceae), notable for its array of wonderfully spotted or textured leaves. The 28 recognized species are all native to South Africa and neighboring Namibia, occurring both in summer-rainfall and winter-rainfall regions. These plants have slender spikes of tubular flowers which are generally not showy, but they appeal to collectors because of their chubby leaves, which may be cylindrical, spoon-shaped, disc-like or blimp-like. Many of them have attractive spots or blotches, but one called Adromischus marianiae forma herrei is fantastically textured, with its leaves often flushing dark red.


Adromischus marianiae forma herrei is part of a complex of plants from the western part of South Africa, and also just across the border in southwestern Namibia. The taxonomy of this group is tangled, with species names having been given to various different forms. Their flowers show them all to be closely related, so recent books sweep them all together as one species, Adromischus marianiae. For a long time, the name was misspelled as “marianae”, so books often list it this way, but marianiae is correct. The Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants recognizes four varieties, but this seems woefully inadequate to account for the many forms found in nature, so growers continue to use older names to distinguish these. In the case of Adromischus marianiae forma herrei, it is listed as a synonym of A. marianiae var. immaculatus, but this has smooth unspotted leaves and looks very different, so the textured plant is usually grown under the old species name of Adromischus herrei, or else Adromischus marianiae forma herrei.


Adromischus marianiae forma herrei is a short-stemmed miniature clustering plant, with leaves up to 2 inches long (5 cm), but usually less. It looks best if grown in bright light, so that its leaves are tightly bunched together. Depending on the clone and the growing conditions, plants may be green, red, purple, or almost black, and the leaves can vary from short and almost round to lemon-shaped or more elongated. Plants seen in collections typically have leaves which are red-tinged and lemon-shaped. In all cases, the leaf surface is roughened by bumps and ridges which give it a unique and extraordinary appearance.


A. marianiae forma herrei blooms at the end of summer and into the fall, with the slender stalk arising from the center of the rosette. The erect stalks are as much as a foot high (30 cm) and have a waxy coating that makes them look whitewashed, though this coating wears off in time. The little tubular flowers are spaced along the stalk, and they angle upward and a little outward from their point of attachment. The floral tube is pale green over most of its length, but is sometimes reddened toward the top, where the five petals curl back and show off their pink coloration.



Like other kinds of Adromischus, A. marianiae forma herrei can be propagated from its leaves, which detach readily and are easily rooted. A little patience is required, however, since the rooted leaf takes its time producing a new little plant.



Plant Donations to The Garden

Many people express interest in donating plants to the Ruth Bancroft Garden. These include plants that have grown too large for their space, may no longer be desirable for the owner, mature landscape plants that are being removed to make way for new plantings, or were owned by friends or loved ones. Plant donations to the garden are most appreciated but must be approved by staff prior to drop-offs. Many donations are repotted in our nursery and sold at our plant sales to raise money to support the garden, while a choice few plants will be accessioned into our collection, depending on the species and whether it is represented in our collection.

If you are interested in donating plants, we request that you email digital images of the plants along with any identifying information you may have to our Garden Curator, Brian Kemble.  He will be happy to determine which plants are appropriate for donation.

Garden Plant Information

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Ruth's Tips
The Ruth Bancroft Garden Staff has been contributing "Ruth's Tips" articles to the Home & Garden section of Bay Area newspapers since 2005. We are currently in the process of scanning the printed articles to make them available online. Scanned articles are available here.
Plant Highlight Archives
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What's in Bloom?

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Garden Plant Information

Ruth's Tips Article

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Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.  
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy