Lithops - August 2015, April 2009, October 2006
Lithops are intriguing plants that originate from South Africa and Namibia. In habitat they are accustomed to long periods of drought and extremely hot conditions. Popularly known as “living stones” due to their resemblance to polished pebbles, these plants are so well camouflaged in habitat that animals are unable to detect them.
Lithops are actually a pair of leaves that have adapted to their environment in a unique manner. In order to preserve moisture – most plants receive little or no rainfall for extended periods of time – they have lost the typical leaf appearance and instead have evolved a smooth rounded appearance, hence their association with stones or pebbles.
The rounded stone-like appearance also helps protect them as a food source. In habitat, Lithops are well adapted also because they imitate the surrounding colors and soil texture. They may be virtually invisible at times.
Most lithops produce flowers, typically in the spring or early fall. The yellow and white flowers are daisy-like and appear in the top of each lithop head as shown in photo at the left.
Lithops are available from many cactus and succulent nurseries and can be capable grown with a little care and concern. The three biggest problems associated with growing lithops are overwatering, poor ventilation, and impatience. Place your collection in a south facing locaton under protected conditions (greenhouse or window sill).
Make sure that there is adequate air flow and lots of light. The ideal spot for growing lithops is in a protected area that is south facing. Lithops are notoriously slow growing, so don’t expect your plant to grow quickly.
Make sure that you stop watering your plants sometime in late fall til mid spring (when the nights start to warm up). During the spring, lithops will generate a new body, consuming the moisture and nutrients from the old “leaves”
-- Steven Frieze, 2009
Photos in Cactus Chronicle:
Lithops pseudotruncatella v. elisabethiae,
Lobivia - April 2018, May 2010, May - June 2008, June 2007
Lobivia densispina grows in clusters from a large tap root. The spines form a close network that shades and in many cases almost hides the plant body. The flowers vary from yellow to orange and red.
Lobivia ferox almost looks like Thelocactus. It is globular, usually singular, and grows to 8 inches in diameter. It has.
-- By Tom Glavich September 2004, Edited by Steve Frieze May 2010
Photo in Cactus Chronicle: