A survey of succulent plants under general cultivation in Nairobi: taxonomy and possible economic uses
Mbugua, Paul Kamau
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An investigation was made into cultivated succulents in Nairobi and a checklist compiled. There were found to be 117 species in 41 genera, representing 15 families. Their contribution to garden design was assessed by rating their prominence on a 5-point scale. It was found that some species play an important part in garden design because they are drought resistant. As most of the succulents in Nairobi are exotic and therefore not keyed out in Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA), an identification key was made based as far as possible on vegetative characters. Some investigations were made on floral/fruit phenology and reproductive biology of several species. Most were found to be capable of vegetative reproduction in addition to sexual reproduction. Various methods of killing and preparing specimens for the herbarium were compared, using several select species, to investigate the degree of distortion during preparation and after preservation for three months. The study revealed that spirit or pickled specimens suffer less distortion than pressed or dried specimens, with 70% alcohol giving the least distortion. A literature survey was carried out to find the uses of the plants in their countries of origin and suggestions made for possible commercial use of some species in arid regions of Kenya.