Friday, 6 July 2018

Lythops


I am not much of a gardener. In fact, I hate gardening. For some reason, though, I have always enjoyed having cactus and succulents. Perhaps it's because they thrive on neglect. If you give them too much love, water them too much, they will turn to mush and die.

Maybe that's why I like them so much. There's very little work to them.

What is the difference between a succulent and a cactus? Succulents are plants that store water in leaves, stems, or sometimes both. This means that a cactus is a succulent. The difference is that cacti grow thorns, spikes or needles to protect itself.

A long time ago I managed to own a couple of Lythops which are hard to come by in Canada. Unfortunately, I overwatered and, of course, they died.

Lythops are native to South Africa. Also known as living stones, they survive in the wild by growing among real stones. This matter of camouflage keeps them hidden from hungry or thirsty predators and sometimes, even experts miss finding them. They get their moisture from mist and fog and can survive for many months without rain.


The above lythop has sprouted. Originally, it had only looked like the two centre pieces but smaller and without the shriveled leaf on each side. When it sprouts, the new growth rises through the middle of the plant from the inside. This splits the two outer bumps (leaves). As it is growing, it draws water from the original leaves, which dry up and whither away. You can see this from the picture above and below.


These two plants I found at Dynasty, a flower shop on Queen Street West. Lythops leaves can have many different designs and colour patterns on them. After the new growth comes in, they apparently flower. I can't wait for this to happen and will post pictures, if and when it happens.

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