Liv­ing stones

Amateur Gardening - - A Gardener’s Miscellany -

‘Liv­ing stones’, or lithops, are an in­trigu­ing group of suc­cu­lents. They re­sem­ble the peb­bles found in their nat­u­ral habi­tat of Namibia and its ad­join­ing African coun­tries. Spine­less suc­cu­lents of 2-4in (5-10cm) across, they grow al­most com­pletely em­bed­ded in the soil, ex­pos­ing only a pair of thick and semi-cir­cu­lar suc­cu­lent ‘leaves’ fused to­gether. A sin­gle, daisy-like flower ap­pears from the slit be­tween the leaves.

There are some 200 va­ri­eties and cul­ti­vars and, be­cause there is such di­ver­sity in colours and pat­terns, col­lect­ing lithops can be­come a hobby.

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