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Wonderfully Weird Succulents

Trychyandra tortilis

Succulent plants have been hit for the past several years. From cactus decoration to unavoidable Houseleeks, Aloe Vera and other plants, succulents are available in a wide variety of different species. Unless you are their biggest and hottest fan, you probably have not yet met these plants.

Lithops

Lithops is a genus of succulent plants in the ice plant family, Aizoaceae. Individual Lithops plants consist of one or more pairs of bulbous, almost fused leaves opposite to each other and hardly any stem. The slit between the leaves contains the meristem and produces flowers and new leaves. The leaves of Lithops are mostly buried below the surface of the soil, with a partially or completely translucent top surface known as a leaf window which allows light to enter the interior of the leaves for photosynthesis.
During winter a new leaf pair, or occasionally more than one, grows inside the existing fused leaf pair. In spring the old leaf pair parts to reveal the new leaves and the old leaves will then dry up. Lithops leaves may shrink and disappear below ground level during drought. Lithops in habitat almost never have more than one leaf pair per head, presumably as an adaptation to the arid environment. Yellow or white flowers emerge from the fissure between the leaves after the new leaf pair has fully matured, one per leaf pair. This is usually in autumn, but can be before the summer solstice in L. pseudotruncatella and after the winter solstice in L. optica. The flowers are often sweetly scented.

The most startling adaptation of Lithops is the colouring of the leaves. The leaves are fenestrated, and the epidermal windows are patterned in various shades of cream, grey, and brown, with darker windowed areas, dots, and red lines, according to species and local conditions. The markings function as remarkable camouflage for the plant in its typical stone-like environment. As is typical of a window plant, the green tissue lines the inside of the leaves and is covered with translucent tissue beneath the epidermal windows.

Sedum morganianum

Sedum morganianum is a tropical species that has long been grown as an ornamental for its distinctive, evergreen foliage. It has several common names including burro’s tail, donkey’s tail, horse’s tail, and lamb’s tail for the resemblance of the pendulous stems to an animal’s tail. The lance-shaped, overlapping leaves completely surround the stem.

This tender perennial plant has trailing stems and succulent, blue-green leaves with a silvery bloom that rubs off when handled. The stems grow upright at first, eventually becoming pendulous and growing to four feet long; they can be rather heavy with all the water stored in the leaves. The smooth-textured, lance-shaped, overlapping leaves grow in a closely-whorled, almost spiraling pattern to completely surround the stem, creating an almost braided appearance. The short, thick cylindrical leaves are pointed on the end, and swell to become very plump when plants are well watered and will shrivel when too dry. The stems are brittle and leaves break off easily, so place the plant where it will not get inadvertently knocked or be damaged by passing people or animals.

Burro’s tail grown indoors rarely blooms, but in summer, small but showy pink to red blossoms may appear in terminal clusters of 1-6 flowers on slender pedicels. The small, star-shaped flowers have bright yellow stamens and fleshy, lighter pink sepals. They produce abundant nectar and are very attractive to bees and flies.

Echeverias

Native to Mexico and Central America, Echeverias are regarded by many as one of the most beautiful succulents. Evergreen, they form attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves and often resemble plum-petaled roses, waterlilies or ruffled lettuce. There are dozens of species, and hundreds of cultivars offering a wide array of colors, sizes or leaf shapes. Echeverias are often confused with Sempervivums (Hens and Chicks). While they both look alike with their pretty fleshy rosettes, there are major differences. Echeveria flowers are bell-shaped, often born on arching stems. Sempervivum flowers usually feature narrow, aster-like petals on oversized inflorescences. Most Echeverias flower yearly while Sempervivums are monocarpic – they die after flowering.

Euphorbia obesa

Euphorbia obesa is a subtropical succulent species comes from South Africa. Sometimes referred to as a Baseball plant.

In the wild, it is endangered because of over-collection and poaching, because of its slow growth, and the fact that the pod contains only 2 to 3 seeds. However, it is widely cultivated in botanical gardens.

Euphorbia obesa resembles a ball, thornless and decorative. It is commonly known as ‘baseball plant’ due to its shape. Its diameter is between 6 cm and 15 cm depending on its age. Young Euphorbia obesas are spherical, but become cylindrical with age. They contain water reservoirs for periods of drought.

It almost always shows 8 ridges adorned with small deep gibbosity regularly planted on the edges. It is green with horizontal lighter or darker stripes. In the wild, and with exposure to direct sunlight, it shows red and purple areas.

The plant is dioecious, which means that a subject has only male or female flowers. The small flowers are insignificant in apex. In fact, like all Euphorbia, flowers are called cyathia.

As in all Euphorbia species, the latex is toxic.

Greonium dodrantale

Greonium dodrantale, also known as Greenovia dodrantalis, is an evergreen, perennial succulent up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) tall. It grows as stemless rosettes, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, freely offsetting to form clumps. The rosettes are cup- or urn-shaped with leaves densely packed. They are tightly closed during the dry season. The leaves are roundish, blue-green with waxy surface, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long and up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) wide. The flowers are yellow and appear in spring.

Senecio peregrinus

Senecio peregrinus is a beautiful, succulent plant up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall with leaves that look like tiny, little cute dolphins jumping out of the deep blue see. As they grow, they are becoming more and more similar, perfecting themselves as an impressive potted plant.
Like all the succulent plants, this plant is extremely durable and can be for a while without water, but ideally in high humidity rooms. They need a lot of indirect light and they like to have space, so make sure they grow in a little bigger pot. Water them once a week and hold at 22 degrees.

Hoya kerrii

Also known as lucky heart these plants are undoubtedly the most romantic succulents. They are great for maintenance as well as most succulents.
Hoya kerrii is a climbing plant that can grow up to 4 meters high (around 13 feet). Stems have a diameter of 7 mm. The leaves are 6 cm wide, 5 mm thick. Adult plants show inflorescences of 5 cm diameter and up to 25 flowers. They produce small balls of nectar, coloured red to brown. They smell only faintly or not at all.

It can be difficult to find a fully vined Hoya kerri at a reasonable price. Garden centres and large box stores often stock Hoya kerrii as a single leaf cutting. The cutting’s heart shape makes it a popular purchase for Valentine’s day. The leaf readily roots and remains a planted heart for many months if not years. These are largely considered novelty items as very few single leaf cuttings develop into mature plants. In order for a leaf cutting to sprout a vine, part of the stem and a node is required from the mother plant. Even if a stem and node are present, it can take several years before new growth is observed.

Haworthia cooperi var. truncata

Haworthia cooperi var. truncata is a stemless succulent plant that looks like a small grape cluster and makes fat little colonies, up to 3 inches (7,5 cm) in diameter. It is very quickly offseting and smaller growing form of Haworthia cooperi. Leaves are succulent soft and glassy (almost transparent), 20 to 25 per rosette, round-tipped, somewhat spherical with lovely blue-green translucent-patterns. They become reddish with too much sun or not enough water. When flowering in spring to summer, it bears a peduncle simple inflorescence (up to 12 inches (30 cm) long) of whitish flowers.

Trachyandra tortilis

Trachyandra tortilis is a perennial, acaulescent, geophyte with a subterranean tuber. It grows up to 25 cm high and has 3-6 grey-green basal leaves of 10 cm length and 2 cm width. The leaves of all Trachyandra species are filiform or linear, except in Trachyandra tortilis in which they are linear, sinuously folded in a very peculiar transversal manner. The folding and coiling varies from plant to plant. The flowers are pale pink marked with green, are borne in a much-branched spike and become up to 2 cm in diameter.

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