Pleiospilos nelii

This species is one of 35 in the genus Pleiospilos, distributed throughout South Africa. Its body is superbly adapted to its environment. Like Lithops, Pleiospilos are deservedly called Living Stones. It is a stemless succulent plant with one or two pairs of opposite, decussate, very fleshy leaves that are semi-spherical and joined at the base. They are grey-green, marked with countless, dark, translucent dots. These gave the genus its name – the Greek pleios means many and spilos dots. The flowers may be up to 7 cm (2 ¾ in) across and are usually coloured yellow to salmon-pink.

A suitable growing medium is a mixture of leaf mould and sand. Water moderately during the growing period, from May to June, but the plant does not tolerate permanent wet and cool conditions. Keep absolutely dry in winter at a temperature of 10°-15°C (50°-59°F). With proper care, the plant will produce lovely, large blossoms that remain fresh a whole week. They remain closed in the morning, but open in the afternoon.

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