LITHOPS

These are probably the most sought after of succulent plants. They comprise one, two, or more growths, in clumps, each growth consisting of a conical or almost cylindrical pair of leaves, almost completely united, divided only by a fissure across the upper surface. They are endemic to Namaqualand and the Karroo. So closely do they resemble stones that they are often referred to by the descriptive name of “living stones”. They grow in nature in very dry desert regions, partly buried in the sand. The growing period is from March to September. At all times they should be kept in a light position, and planted in a compost which is very sandy, and the bodies should not be buried in the soil up to the upper surface but should project well above. Propagation is best from seed, but cuttings can be successfully rooted. They can be divided into two sections; those which have an opaque “window” and those which have an entirely or partly translucent “window”. The species have in an infinite variation in the pattern of the delicate markings. No two plants seem to be alike in this respect, but they have been classified into 70 distinct species.

Lithops alpina. The bodies are small, with the upper surface slightly convex, pale brown, with fine brown markings, and freely dotted. Flower, yellow.

Lithops aurantiaca. Forms clumps, rounded on the top, with a shallow fissure. The body is brown, the flowers orange-yellow.

Lithops bella. Grows in clumps, with 1 to 6 brownish-yellow bodies, which are slightly rounded at the top. A very beautiful plant with pure white flowers.

Lithops Comptonii. A lovely small “windowed” plant, forming clumps. The fissures are deep. The body is olive-green, the flower yellow.

Lithops Framesi. This is a clump-forming plant. The sides of the body are reddish-grey, with a dark grey “window” and a few scattered grey markings.

Lithops Fulleri. The bodies are dove-grey, their upper surface with pitted markings which consist of brownish branched lines. The outer edge often has brownish-red dots. Flower, white.

Lithops karasmontana. A very popular species. Grey to bluish-yellow, the upper surface pitted and wrinkled, usually brownish to ochre coloured. Having a thick epidermis, the old leaves persist a long time. Flower, white.

Lithops lateritia. Forms clumps. It is rusty red with a few markings, the upper surface being greyish, with a fairly deep fissure. Flower, white.

Lithops Lesliei. One of the best of the Lithops, forming I or 2 bodies. It is coffee-coloured, the upper surface pitted with a network of dark greenish-brown markings. Flower, golden-yellow.

Lithops olivacea. A beautiful plant, forming small clusters, with green “windows”, often flecked whitish. The body of the plant is olive-green. Flowers, yellow.

Lithops Peersii. A popular Lithops, forming clumps; the bodies are ochre or greenish, upper surface flat, with dark grey dots; the edge of the upper surface and the fissure are a lighter colour. Flower, glossy yellow.

Lithops umdausensis. The bodies are olive-green to brown with blue-green markings in the form of branching lines, the fissures running right across the top of the bodies. Flower, white.

Lithops pseudotruncatella. A very free-growing species, forming clumps. The upper surface is roundish, the bodies pale brownish-grey, with a network of veins and dots on the upper surface, like a piece of finely veined marble. Flowers, golden-yellow.

Lithops turbiniformis. The species has a wrinkled top of light rusty brown with darker brown in the furrows, the fissure running right across. The bodies are grey. Flower, yellow.

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