Sukkulenten = Pflanzen.
‡ Folgendes hat anthroposofische Einschlüße ‡
For a long time, life continues to be held in closely in the spherical or columnar form of the plant. Growth is slow. And that might be all there is to it, in the cacti, if just this one pole were active in the plant, the pole which finds expression in watery, swelling growth. But another pole is at work as well, one which gathers its forces over an equally long period.
At first its gains on the plant form are limited to wholly peripheral elements, to the warts and spines. Yet finally it has gathered sufficient strength, and its hour has come.
From the innermost heart it suddenly calls for the flowering process which bursts out abruptly, rapidly, and in great abundance. Often there is a wait of many years; but
then the unexpected does happen. From the tips of warts, from the axils, the flowers push out. They tend to be handsome, white, yellow, or, in most cases, red.
They have long funnels, with plenty of nectar; the calyx tends to continue straight on into the petals, without a dividing line. Above the inferior ovary crowd numerous stamens. Bright, often rather loud, colours go hand in hand with strong scents reminiscent of jasmine, orange flowers, vanilla, gum benjamin, orchids, or violets. As one would expect with a flowering process of such general vehemence, the individual flower is shortlived, sometimes lasting only a few hours.
In the floral region, the watery element appears only in form of nectar. In the fruit, it is allowed to swell out again; most of the fruits are berries and juicy edible fruits.
Many are enjoyable to eat, and the Cactaceae are one of the major fruitproducing families in the plant kingdom. In some species, the whole cactus may be eaten like a fruit,
and is bottled with sugar. Flavour, sugar and acid make the stem into something of a fruit.
The phenomenon of aqueous congestion, of succulence, normally represents a passing phrase during two stages in the development of a plant. It is soon overcome.
During germination, a plant is intensively taking up the watery element. In many plants, the cotyledons and the piece of stem between them and the radicle, the hypocotyl,
do swell up to a greater or lesser degree. Soon afterwards the plant connects with the element of air, and in the leaf broadens out into a plane. What otherwise might well
swell up into a sphere is taken up by the forces of the periphery and opens out to infinity as a plane.
When plant growth is coming to an end, and once again moving from plane to point, from leaf to seed (existence in leafform is now given up), the sphere may develop,
as an intermediary form between plane and point. Around the developing fruit flow the ripening forces of the periphery. The fluid principle may then be drawn into the developing fruit, and in a juicy fruit swell mightily, into a sphere or spherelike structure. Thus one phase of swelling growth comes at the beginning, the other at the end
of sprouting, shooting growth; between them lies the stretching of the stem, the unfolding of the leaf. In the cactus, the intermediate stage is suppressed; in this plant,
pole immediately follows pole, and the leaf principle exists only as a timeform, not as a spatial element. The green cactus sphere performs the functions of the leaf in its
green cortical layer. It will go on for a long time, often for years, behaving as a leaf and assimilating, although no actual leaves are allowed to develop.
Succulent forms similar to cacti are found in quite a number of plant families; for instance, the stonecrops, Mesembryanthemum species, Liliaceae, Euphorbiaceae, species
of Fouqueria, Stapelia and certain Compositae (Kleinias). All are based on congestion of etheric forces resulting in watery swelling tendencies. This gives them great vitality,
so that they are able to hold their own even in extremely barren country.
The bodies of cacti show little lignification. The woodforming process has "turned soft" in these plants, and they produce plenty of mucilage instead. The mucilaginous compounds derive from cellulose. They also contain a considerable amount of plant acid which arises because exhalation is held back. In the process of life, sugar is normally broken down in the process of respiration into carbon dioxide and water. In the succulents, this process of degradation comes to a halt halfway through, and plant acids such as malic, tartaric, oxalic and citric acid are formed. This type of acid makes unripe fruit taste sour. Ripening results not so much in an increase in sugar content, but rather in
the combustion of fruit acids.
Speichern CO2 nachts um es tagsüber langSAM abzugeben durch KLEINE Spaltöffnungen in dicke Blätter, worin Wasser gespeichert ist. Der Photosynthese findet im Stamm statt.
Lophophora williamsii = Peyotle = Anh.
. = bitter gourd/= bitter melon
Ornithogalum. = Doldigen Milchstern
Sceletium o. Mesembryanthemum tortuosum = Kanna/= Kou- o. kauwgoed/= Mittagsblume/= Channa