Drosanthemum micans (Robertson Vygie)

Drosanthemum micans (Robertson Vygie)

Scientific Name

Drosanthemum micans (L.) Schwant.

Common Names

Robertson Vygie


Mesembryanthemum micans (basionym)

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Genus: Drosanthemum


Drosanthemum micans is a low-growing, dense, compact, perennial shrublet up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. It has a fibrous root system and is shallow rooted. Like all Drosanthemums, it is characterized by the dewdrop-like beads known as papillae found on the branches and flower stems. The leaves are opposite and nearly always equal. The flowers have red outer petals with chrome yellow inner petals. Flowers are borne in spring during the month of September. The seeds are very small, medium brown and round in shape.

How to Grow and Care

The basics of Mesemb care are very simple, with free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs' own adaptability and to follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.

Mesembs require a loam-based compost with the addition of extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation.

Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to freezing point. There are some Mesembs which begin to grow in the autumn as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.

Because different genera within the Mesemb family have different growing conditions, care mast be taken with watering. Some genera will benefit from a light spray water to prevent shrivelling during their dormant period… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.


Native to South Africa and Namibia.


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The flowers of this species appear in Spring, and they typically have yellow inner petals with red outer petals. [1] [2]

Related species Edit

Drosanthemum micans is part of a group of similar Dosanthemum species, in subgenus "Speciosa". These nine species all have black filamentous staminodes in the centre of their flowers, they are all small, erect shrubs, and they all occur in the southern Cape, South Africa.

Drosanthemum micans is endemic to the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Its distribution range extends from near Worcester in the west, eastwards to Ashton and Montagu, and southwards into the Swellendam and Riversdale districts.

Its habitat is gravelly-to-cobbley alluvial terraces (tertiary pediment gravels). It is frequently found in weathered Malmesbury shale rocks. The surrounding vegetation is usually shale or alluvial renosterveld or transition areas between renosterveld and fynbos vegetation types. [4]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Drosanthemum micans .

  1. ^"Drosanthemum micans | PlantZAfrica". . Retrieved 26 January 2020 .
  2. ^ H.E.K. Hartmann The identity of Drosanthemum micans (Aizoaceae) Bradleya 2011.
  3. ^ Hartmann, H. & Roux, A.. (2011). Drosanthemum subgenus Speciosa (Aizoaceae): Towards a revision of the plants with black staminodes. Bradleya. 29. 143-178. 10.25223/brad.n29.2011.a18.
  4. ^
  5. "Threatened Species Programme | SANBI Red List of South African Plants". . Retrieved 26 January 2020 .

This Aizoaceae article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

Drosanthemum Species, Ice Plant, Royal Dewflower


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Sep 30, 2014, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall,
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

As Annie said, some of these photos are of Lampranthus (aureus?), and also Livingstone Daisy.

Plants like this make me wonder why people in California bother to grow anything else as ground cover! Lampranthus and Drosanthemum species are real eye catchers and come in so many colours. Some even have black centres to add to the effect!

I'm going to trial some of these beauties next year outdoors.

On Dec 3, 2009, AnniesAnnuals from Richmond, CA wrote:

Longer lived & longer flowering than Drosanthemum bicolor! D.bicolor is a tiny bit showier, and more consistently colored. D.speciosum can be red, yellow, orange or pink. I suspect that the photos shown (with the orange flower) are actually of a Lampranthus of some kind. This species shows very little invasive potential, and does not self-sow in California.

On Dec 11, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant however, I have observed it growing in Maui. It is a perennial herb that is native to South Africa (Cape area). Other common names include Worcester-Robertson vygie, red iceplant and Berg vygie. Its genus name, Drosanthemum, comes from the Greek words drosos which means dew and anthos which means flower. It describes water cells on the leaves of many species which look like dew drops. It grows best in full sun and needs to be pruned back or replanted every 3 to 5 years. it has become naturalized in California.

Drosanthemum micans

Common names: Robertson vygie


Drosanthemum micans is a colourful spring flowering vygie (Afr.) that is a good choice for arid gardens across the country.



Drosanthemum micans is a low-growing, dense, compact, perennial shrublet that can attain a height of 0.6 m under ideal conditions. It has a fibrous root system and is shallow rooted. Like all drosanthemums, it is characterized by the dewdrop-like beads known as papillae found on the branches and flower stems. The leaves are opposite and nearly always equal. The flowers have red outer petals with chrome yellow inner petals. Flowers are borne in spring during the month of September.

The seeds are very small, medium brown and round in shape. The seeds are dispersed by means of rainwater that open the valves located in the seed capsule. This splashing action disperses the seeds some distance away from the parent plant. In some cases rainwater will wash the seeds under other karroid plants in the area. As with many succulents, life begins under the protection of a nurse plant. A nurse plant is a shrub from where the young plant germinates and grows, protected by its leaves and branches from the sun's strong rays. With time they eventually outgrow their nurse.

Conservation Status


Drosanthemum micans has very recently been classified as Endangered mainly due to habitat destruction. This new classification will appear in the new Red Data Book scheduled for publication in early 2007.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution description

There are over 110 species of Drosanthemum found in the arid areas of South Africa and neighbouring Namibia. Drosanthemum micans has a relatively small distribution in the winter rainfall area of South Africa. It occurs mainly in the karroid areas in the Worcester and Robertson lowlands. It is found growing in decomposed Malmesbury shale. It is used to extreme heat (above 40°C), but it can survive in relatively low temperatures (-3°C).

Derivation of name and historical aspects


The word Drosanthemum originates from the Greek word dros, meaning dew-like (hence the shining papillae) and anthemum means flower. If one looks at the flowers in the midday sun they do almost glisten. The specific epiphet micans also refers to the shiny, sparkling appearance.

This plant has only been used in ornamental horticulture relatively recently. It is unlikely that Drosanthemum micans has been planted very widely in cultivated gardens in South Africa. In fact, most drosanthemums are a relatively new introduction to ornamental horticulture.



Pollination is done mainly by bees and smaller bumble bees. It is possible that some evening moths could contribute to the pollination of this species.

None are really known. It is possibly planted in a limited number of gardens mainly in the Western Cape. It is a hardy survivor in a water-wise garden!

Growing Drosanthemum micans

This is done primarily from seed. It is however, possible to grow this plant by means of cuttings. Cuttings should be harvested in October or early March. Cuttings are taken from young, healthy branches using a very sharp, clean knife. The severed ends should be dusted with flowers of sulphur to ensure no fungal spores rot the plant at a later stage. Root in sharp, clean river sand. Misting of the cuttings is essential.

Seeds are produced in late October of each year (southern hemisphere). The seed capsules must be dry and starting to split open before seed can be collected. The seed capsules tend to go a pale brown when they are ready for harvesting.

Use sandy loam with a small amount of very well-rotted, sieved compost. Place a top layer of sieved, coarse river sand on top of the growing medium. The seeds should be sown on top of this medium. The fine seeds will fall between the coarse particles of sand where they will become lodged and eventually germinate. Do not crowd too many seeds into a seed pan - this can lead to damping off when they start germinating. The sowing medium must be well drained. Do not over-water too much water at a time when the seeds are germinating will ROT them. Mist, every day under warm conditions, 28°C or above. During the winter months only mist every three to four days depending on the weather. Move to a sunny location for the initial germination, especially during the cold winter months.

Sow the seeds in April or May (southern hemisphere). By April of the following year the plants should be strong enough to be planted in a small plastic pot. Use a 9 cm pot, and a well-drained potting medium.

Once established, Drosanthemum micans will grow quickly. These plants respond well to organic foodstuffs.


  • Germishuizen, G., Meyer, N.L., Steenkamp, Y. & Keith, M. (eds) 2006. A Checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 41. SABONET, Pretoria.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape plants. A conspectus of the Cape flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.
  • Herre, H. 1971. Genera of the Mesembryanthemaceae. Tafelberg, Cape Town.


Ian Oliver
Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens
September, 2006

Watch the video: Lampranthus Spectabilis deltoides Ice Plant Vygie Violet