WHAT ARE LITHOPS ?
Lithops are plants....
This may seem a rather obvious statement but the most often asked question when people first
encounter these little wonders of nature is "What are they"?
Commonly known as "Living Stones" they seem capable of fooling humans as well as animals.
They could also be called "Finger Magnets", especially for children who seem to have an
irresistable urge to touch them!
Plants they are, though, and one of nature's more charming creations.
They belong to the plant family Mesembryanthemaceae (Aizoaceae).
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM ?
Lithops originate from South Africa and Namibia where they have become highly adapted to
conditions of extreme heat and drought.
WHY DO THEY LOOK LIKE STONES ?
Although it is hard to imagine, the body of a lithops is in fact a pair of leaves that have evolved
to efficiently retain whatever moisture becomes available to the plant. In some areas of their
habitat rainfall may not occur for many months so conservation of water is of prime importance.
To minimise any evapouration the leaves have become so truncated that they have lost the
appearance of a normal leaf and have become rounded like a pebble.
This has helped to make them less obvious to foraging animals so the plants that best mimic the
colour and appearance of the soil and stones of their surroundings stand the best chance of
survival. This in turn has led to the evolution of different species and varieties.
DO THEY HAVE FLOWERS ?
The majority of lithops produce their flowers during autumn and early winter. They are daisy-like
and yellow or white depending on variety. They first open during the afternoons of sunnier days.
CAN I GROW THEM ?
If you can give them sufficient light, good ventilation and resist the temptation to
keep watering them there are few problems.
CULTIVATION
PLANTS (chatbox)
PLANT LIST
LINKS & SUPPLIERS
LITHOPS....an introduction