The Wonderful World of Succulents part 2

One of my pandemic pastimes has been learning about succulents. I started with cacti and now I have moved on to succulents (to be clear, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti). All succulents are defined as water-storing plants, for the word “succulent” comes from Latin word “sucus,” meaning juice or sap.

I’ve started my succulent journey at the beginning of the alphabet, so without further ado, here are some of my favorite succulents in the “B and C” families. Most photos and info come courtesy of the World of Succulents website. (“A” list here, Cacti list here)

family: Bromeliaceae

Many bromeliads are able to store water in a structure formed by their tightly overlapping leaf bases, such as the pineapple.

specimen: The largest bromeliad is the one pictured. It’s a Puya raimondii, and it’s not even a succulent, but I liked it so much that I’m including it on this list anyway. Its reproductive cycle lasts approximately 80 years and dies after first reproduction. more info


Okay, that’s it for all the B’s that I want to talk about. ALL the next ones come from the Crassulaceae family, which I discovered to be my favorite succulent family (besides the Cactaceae family). Here’s some info about the Crassulaceae family:

  • Many plants in this family use a unique form of photosynthesis, known as Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM photosynthesis is a carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions that allows a plant to photosynthesize during the day, but only exchange gases at night.
  • Crassulaceae are mainly perennial and have economic importance as garden plants. Many members have a bizarre, intriguing appearance, and are quite hardy, typically needing only minimal care.
  • Crassulaceae are found predominantly in semi-arid rocky habitats with monsoonal patterns of precipitation and high humidity, while some genera (e.g. Sempervivum) occur primarily in arid mountainous habitats and higher altitudes. Although their succulent leaves and Crassulacean acid metabolism allow them to adapt to a variable water supply, they are not found in true desert areas.

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Sedum jurgensenii. Native to Mexico. Grows on rocky slopes and cliffs at elevations of 3,600 – 9,500 ft. It is my humble opinion that all sedum plants (are there are many of them) are totally awesome. more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Sedum Burrito. ‘Discovered’ in 1970 in a nursery, the origin of this plant is quite an enigmatic mystery. There is no known record of ‘Burrito’ having occurred in habitat, so far its native habitat is unknown to science. As ‘Burrito’ seems similar to the cliff dweller Sedum morganianum, which is native to Veracruz, Mexico and forms long cascading stems of glaucous blue-green leaves, there has been conjecture that perhaps ‘Burrito’ is a natural Sedum morganianum hybrid. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Buddhas Temple. Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar) Hybrid of Crassula pyramidalis and Crassula perfoliata v. falcata (or var. minor?) Hybridized. The light, white powdery surface helps to preserve moisture and protect it from strong sunlight. It forms compact square shaped column with successive upward curving leaves reminding the roof of a Chinese pagoda. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Echeveria Set Oliver. Popular also as “Firecracker Plant. It has long been around in collections, and has widely been used because of its dense, fuzzy covering of short, white hairs, to produce several hybrids. The The cross Echeveria harmsii x Echeveria setosa produced this plant. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Crassula columnaris, “Upright Crassula.” Native to So. Africa and Namibia on gravel flats or quartz fields. Plants are variously colored to blend in with the harsh, dry and rocky habitat in which they grow. The plant takes five to ten years to reach maturity, at which time, and if rain falls, the round body opens and a dense ‘shaving brush’ of cream to orange-yellow sweet-scented flowers appears. It dies after flowering. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Tylecodon leucothrix, “bunny ears.” South Africa, rows in shaded places, sometimes in full sun, usually on south-facing Swartberg foothills and rocky hillsides and often associated with rock outcrops in well-drained, sandy soil. This plant is considered rare but population is stable. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Crassula muscosa, “Watch Chain.” Native to So. Africa and Namibia. Grows preferably in rocky habitats, but is also found on plains. Easily propagated from stem cuttings. note: The one I had did not like living outside in Phoenix, and it died over the summer. I should have kept it indoors and allow it some outside vacation time. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Orostachys japonica, “Rock Pine.” Temperate Asia, China, Russia, Korea & Japan. Rocks on low mountains, along streams in China and surface of mountain rocks in Korea and Japan, both in sunny or semi-shaded (light woodland) location with a well-drained and moist soil that is low in nutrients. It is also grown on house roofs.  Because of its growing shape which resembles a pine tree’s cone, and its habit of growing on mountain rocks, it is also called rock pine. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Orostachys spinosa, “Spiny Pennywort.” Northern Eurasia, can handle super cold winters. This small rosette grows low and slow. This a great plant for demonstrating Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio. Regular water will help young plants establish roots and spread quickly, but mature plants can tolerate several months of drought. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Monanthes polyphylla. Canary Islands, 100-1500 meters (330-4,900 ft) above sea level, but usually found at relatively high altitudes. In nature it grows very localized in crevices on shaded earthy cliffs and damp rocks. When blooms, it presents but one flower at a time. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Crassula Morgans Beauty. A miniaturized hybrid between Crassula falcata and Crassula mesembryanthemopsis, both native to the Southern Africa. Produces a short-stemmed cluster of small, pinkish and fragrant flowers. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Crassula rupestris subsp. marnieriana,“Jade Necklace.” South Africa, Garden origin (nursery produced cultivar). Its small much-fused leaves are so close together that the stems appear columnar. more info, more info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Aeonium tabuliforme, “Dinner Plate.” Canary Islands. These totally flat succulents grows in vertical cracks in the lava flows on rather steep slopes at around 500 m of altitude usualy facing the N or N.W. This collocation enabling the crowns to shed water, effectively preventing rot. more infomore info

family: Crassulaceae

specimen: Orostachys furusei. Orostachys furusei is a succulent plant that forms small rosettes of fleshy grey-brown leaves. Very cold hardy, it can survive -30F! Does not like high humidity. Drought tolerant. Man, I want this one! more info

I could go on and on with more Crassulaceae, as most of the plants in this family are totally awesome, but, alas, I will end it here.

I will close with this quick video explaining how to say Crassulaceae in case anyone was struggling:

My book Memory Road Trip is available as e-book or paperback! Buy it either at Amazon or at most major retailers.

Published by Krista Marson

Hi, my name is Krista, and I'm a traveling fiend. Well, I should correct myself and say that I used to be a traveling fiend. The COVID-19 health pandemic has kinda stopped me in my tracks and has been keeping me closer to home for the last year and a bit. Perhaps the only thing good about being stuck at home is that it has allowed me the time necessary to finish writing a book. Well, actually, it has allowed me enough time to write about three separate books, but only one of them is ready to be read. I created a website and blog to promote the sale of my forthcoming novels.

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