Description of the plant, recommendations for caring for alixia in indoor conditions, steps in the reproduction of flowering exotic plants, the fight against possible diseases and pests, interesting facts, species. Alyxia (Alyxia) is part of the family of dicotyledonous flowering representatives of the flora called - Kutrovye (Apocynaceae). Such plants have two cotyledons, which are located opposite each other in the embryo of the seed. The native area of distribution falls on territories with a tropical and subtropical climate, in the vast forests of Asia, as well as on the Australian continent, the Polynesian islands and the fourth largest island on the planet Madagascar, but just over a dozen species are found in Chinese lands. There are about 70 varieties in the genus.
Alyxia got its scientific name in Latin thanks to the Greek word "halysis", which translates as "chain", which indicates the peculiarity of the arrangement of seeds in monolithic fruits, similar to a chain.
In nature, all alixia are evergreens with a liana-like or shrub form of growth. If the stems take the form of lianas, then over time they differ in the property of lignification, and when growing in the form of a shrub, the shoots tend straight up. When a part of the plant breaks, a milky white latex is released. The bark of this representative of the flora is distinguished by its aroma, and it is used in folk medicine and even sold in countries of natural growth.
The foliage on the branches grows opposite each other or is located in whorls of 2-3 pieces. The leaves with a whorled arrangement have approximately the same size, but if you look closely, you will notice that different parts of the plant differ in leaf plates, which vary greatly in shape. They are painted from light to dark green color, the surface is leathery, veins are clearly visible on it.
When alixia blooms, buds are formed in the leaf sinuses, which gather in inflorescences with corymbose outlines. Such inflorescences are called pleiochasias, since there is a division on the axis below the bud located on the main axis, such secondary axes outgrow the main one and are also crowned with flowers that open later. Often, such corymbose inflorescences are collected at the top of the shoot in a panicle. The calyx has a deep division into ovoid sepals turning into a linear shape. Occasionally, there are cilia on their edge.
The shape of the rim is in the form of a saucer, but the tube is characterized by a cylindrical shape. The pharynx contains hairs that bend towards the base of the tube. Each flower carries a pair of ovaries, which have 2-3 pairs of ovules, with a two-row arrangement. The pistil column is filiform, with a capitate stigma. The general outline of the flower is somewhat reminiscent of jasmine. The flowering process occurs in the spring. The flowers of some of the varieties have a pleasant aroma.
After pollination, fruits ripen, which have duplication from each flower. The fruit is a drupe, inside of which there is only one seed, since the ovules are underdeveloped. Occasionally, a berry carries several seeds. Then they are separated by narrow membranes in the form of membranes, forming a chain (something like a rosary) of single-seeded segments, also having the appearance of drupes, which gave the name alixia. The berries are painted in a fiery red color and are not edible. However, due to the fact that the fruits last for a long time on the branches, Alyxia continues to amaze with its decorative appearance.
Recommendations for the care of alixia, growing at home
- Lighting and selection of a place for a pot. The best place for this blooming exotic is a place on the windowsill of the east or west window, where it will be provided with bright but diffused lighting. You can gradually accustom alixia to the full sun, but this must be done carefully, otherwise the foliage may burn. If the plant will flock in the room of the northern location, then it is recommended to carry out additional lighting.
- Content temperature. Most suitable for Alyxia are constant heat values in the range of 19-22 degrees. But with the arrival of winter, they can be lowered to the range of 15-19 degrees, since a decrease in heat will stimulate the setting of flower buds and their development.
- Air humidity when growing a plant, it does not play a significant role, but if the thermometer's indicators increase greatly, then you can spray the foliage.
- Watering. Growing alixia will require regular but moderate watering. It is important to remember that waterlogging of the soil will quickly lead to decay of the root system. The plant can painlessly tolerate a slight drying out of an earthen coma than its bay. The water is used soft and warm, it is recommended to periodically add a few drops of lemon juice or citric acid crystals to it.
- Fertilizers. To make the plant feel comfortable, you need to feed, the number of which reaches three times a year. The tool is chosen as a standard one - a complete mineral complex for decorative deciduous plants.
- Transplant and advice on soil selection. Until the alixia reaches a height of half a meter, then it should be replanted annually with the arrival of the spring months. When the plant is more mature, then the change of the pot and soil is carried out only when necessary, or you can replace 3-4 cm of the upper layer of the substrate with a fresh one. It is recommended to lay drainage at the bottom of the new tank, which is usually medium-sized expanded clay, pebbles or broken shards. There should be holes in the bottom of the pot for the outflow of excess moisture. For alixia, the substrate must have acidity values around pH 7. Otherwise, the plant will begin chlorosis. When preparing a soil mixture, leafy soil and coniferous humus, peat and river sand, sod land are combined. It is also recommended to add a little vermiculite there for looseness.
- General requirements for care. Since the crown of Alyxia can become too thick and bulky, regular pruning should be done after the fruit has fallen off. The branches are cut by a third and those shoots that have dried out or are directed towards the inside of the crown are removed.
- Wintering alixia. Since this exotic can open flowers in winter, additional illumination with fluorescent lamps is recommended during this period. It is in the autumn-winter period, when the heat indices begin to decrease, and the daylight hours are decreasing, the plant begins to stimulate the setting of flower buds and their subsequent development.
Steps in breeding alixia
To get a new blooming exotic, you will need to sow seeds or root cuttings.
During seed propagation, it was noticed that the seedlings have excellent resistance and practically do not die. Seeds are sown in pots filled with sandy-peat substrate and covered with plastic wrap. Germination temperature should be room temperature. The place in which the container with crops is placed is well-lit, but shaded from direct sunlight (they can burn fragile plants). When leaving, it is necessary to ventilate the seedlings daily and if the soil begins to dry out a little, then spray it from a spray bottle. When the shoots appear above the soil surface, the shelter is removed and the alixia are accustomed to indoor conditions. With the development of a full-fledged pair of leaves on the seedling, you can transplant in separate pots with a selected substrate.
The cuttings are planted in pots with a peat-sand mixture and placed under a cap, which can be a glass jar or a cut plastic bottle, or the blanks are wrapped in a plastic transparent bag. Maintenance also consists in daily airing and, if necessary, watering the soil. When rooting has taken place, young Alyxia are transplanted into prepared pots with drainage and suitable soil. It is recommended to pinch young plants to stimulate branching.
Fight against diseases and pests of alixia arising from indoor care
Like many representatives of the flora, this exotic can, with constant violation of the rules of keeping, be affected by a spider mite, the appearance of which is facilitated by low humidity. At the same time, a thin whitish cobweb is formed on the leaf plates and branches. The leaves begin to turn yellow and when young foliage forms, its surface is strongly deformed. It is recommended to perform treatment with an insecticidal preparation (for example, Aktara, Aktellik, Fitoverm or agents with a similar spectrum of action).
If there is a lack of iron or other trace elements in the soil, then the leaf plates begin to turn yellow between the veins - damage by chlorosis. In this case, it is recommended to fertilize with iron-containing preparations (for example, Mr. Color) or add a little citric acid to the water for irrigation. With strong salinity of the substrate, transplantation into a new one with the required acidity is performed. When the soil is constantly in a waterlogged state, root decay may begin and an urgent transplant will be required with the removal of the affected root processes. When planting, it is necessary to treat the root system with a fungicide and use a sterile pot and substrate. If Alyxia is constantly in direct sunlight, sunburn of the foliage is possible.
Interesting facts about alixia
According to the data to date, which are presented on the website of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, located in the suburbs of London (southwestern part of it), there are already 150 species in the genus Alixia. The most prominent representative of the family is considered Alyxia Reinwardtii, since the bark has a strong aroma and is used by indigenous tribes for medicinal purposes, therefore in those places the bark is a commodity for sale in the markets. The bark helps with lesions of the skin, after it has been ground to a powdery form and a little water has been added, and then applied to the infected skin as an ointment. But on the territory of Europe, since the 19th century, it has practically ceased to be used.
The fruits of the plant, although they are not eaten by people, are a favorite delicacy for birds in the natural habitat of alixia. And this contributes to the spread of seed material at fairly large distances from the parent specimen. Because of the flowers, Alyxia is loved by florists and liana-like branches with open buds can often be found in flower shops in their native places of growth. Alixia flowers are used in wedding ceremonies as a decoration for the groom. Also in the high school graduation ceremony in Hawaii, it is customary for boys to be given vines with flowers.
Types of alixia
- Alyxia Reinwardtii has a liana-like shape, while the branches reach three meters in length. Shoots in young specimens are distinguished by a triangle in section, and shoots growing on the sides have a cylindrical shape. Leaf plates are located opposite or in whorls, gathering 3-4 units. The leaf is attached to the branch with a petiole with a length of 5 mm. The shape of the foliage is elongated-elliptical or oblong. Its length can vary in the range of 8–11 cm with a width of approximately 1, 5–2, 5 cm. The surface of the leaf is leathery or half leathery, and there is a blunt end at the top. During flowering, axillary inflorescences are formed in the form of a corymbose bunch. The sepals in flowers measure 3-5 cm in length, and the peduncle does not exceed 1.3 cm in length. The bracts have an oval shape with a strong judgment. The corolla of the flower is painted in a whitish-yellow color, has a tubular shape with a bare surface. The rim lobes are 85 mm long. The flowering process occurs in May-October. When fruiting, a drupe appears, which is distinguished by an oblong-elliptical shape, its length is one and a half centimeters. The bark of the plant serves as a commodity when sold in the markets in the countries of natural growth of this variety, since it is used in the recipes of folk healers.
- Alyxia box-leaved (Alyxia buxifolia). It has a shrubby form of growth, the shoots of the plant reach a height of 2 m, but usually their parameters do not exceed half a meter. The leaf plates are characterized by elliptical or obovate outlines, their surface is thick. The leaf is 1, 4 cm long and 0, 5–2, 5 cm wide. When flowering, buds with snow-white petals open. Inflorescences with a complex umbrella shape are collected from the flowers. The fruits appear rounded, red in color, with a diameter of 0.8 cm. The plant is mainly found in the coastal zones of the Australian continent.
- Alyxia gynopogon can grow as a shrub, reaching a height of three meters. Shoots are rarely ascending. Young branches are characterized by hard pubescence, occasionally they are bare, and have internodes on them. Leaf plates are collected in whorls of 3-5 pieces, but usually there are two pairs of them. The foliage surface is hard, shiny, can be either naked or covered with hard hairs, at a young age. The shape of the leaves is elliptical or slightly obverse-lanceolate. The length of the leaf is 1, 5–3, 5 cm with an approximate width of 1–2, 5 cm. At the base it has a narrowing, at the top there may be a rounding or sharp sharpening, and the tip is sharp or blunt. The flowers have a strong aroma. The final inflorescences are collected from the buds, in which there are 3-5 of them.
- Island axia (Alyxia insularis). It takes on a shrub shape. The plant reaches 3 m in height, with creeping bare branches, which are 4-sided in cross-section. The foliage is usually whorled, in which 4 leaf plates with petioles, 1–1.5 cm long, are collected. The leaf blade has an oval shape or has a narrowing, at the top the leaf is blunt or rounded. The length of the foliage reaches 5, 5–10 cm with a width of about 2, 5–3, 5 cm. The surface of the leaf is leathery and dense to the touch, naked, medium sinewy. Inflorescences formed during flowering are corymbose, in the form of a bundle, located in the leaf axils. In the flower, sepals with oval or triangular outlines, their length is 0.4 cm, at the apex they are obtuse. The corolla is tubular, reaching 1 cm in length. Over time, a dense pubescence forms inside from its middle. The lobes are oval in shape and approximately 5 mm long. Stamens are located inside the corolla tube. The flowering process occurs in May. Drupes are elliptical, not exceeding 1.5 cm in length.
- Eagle-leaf axia (Alyxia ruscifolia). It is a tall shrub that can reach two meters in height. The plant is evergreen. The leaves are small, not exceeding 2.3 cm in length. Their shape is oval, the surface is glossy, the color is green, there is a bend along the edge. On the shoots, the leaves are located in whorls. In the process of flowering, snow-white flowers with 5 petals in the corolla are connected in the scutellous terminal inflorescences. Drupes are colored orange.