Cephalophyllum caespitosum is similar to Cephalophyllum spissum but grows densely clumped, rarely compact, and has more branches and shorter leaves. Additionally, its fruits have 9 to 10 locules, while those of the latter have 11 to 15.
Cephalophyllum caespitosum H.Hartmann
Cheiridopsis cuprea, Mesembryanthemum cupreum
The specific epithet "caespitosum (kess-pi-TOH-sum)" means "turf, grass (attributive)" and refers to the growth habit of the species.
Cephalophyllum pillansii is native to South Africa. It grows on quartz flats in Knersvlakte in the Western Cape province.
Cephalophyllum caespitosum, also known as Cheiridopsis cuprea, is a small succulent that forms a dense clump of short branches with dark green leaves. The leaves are upright or spreading, triangular in cross-section near the apex, and grow in pairs, measuring up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in length. They are noticeably unequal in the young leaf pairs.
During the spring, Cephalophyllum caespitosum produces flowers with numerous narrow petals that range from magenta and copper to cream or whitish. The flowers can reach up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter, and the petals are usually paler near the base. The fruits are 9- to 10-locular capsules that measure up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter.
How to Grow and Care for Cephalophyllum caespitosum
Light: This succulent requires bright light but not too much direct sunlight. So, a windowsill that receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon will be a perfect spot for indoor growing.
Soil: Cephalophyllum caespitosum thrives in porous soil, allowing the water to drain away quickly. Therefore, use commercial soil for succulents or make your own well-draining mix.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem as long as there is plenty of fresh air, but this plant is not cold-hardy. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: To keep your plant healthy, it is most important to know when, how much, and how often to water. During the dormant period, usually in summer, Cephalophyllum caespitosum requires little or no water. In the fall, once it grows again, water thoroughly but allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Fertilizing: As long as you repot this plant every two years, it does not need fertilizer.
Repotting: Even if it can stay happy in the same pot for years, once in a while, you can repot your plant to give it more space anytime during the growing season. However, the best time is at the beginning of the growing season.
Propagation: Although it is usually started from seeds, Cephalophyllum caespitosum can be easily propagated by division. Late summer, just before it begins to break dormancy, is the best time to divide the plant, while the fall is ideal for sowing the seeds.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
Toxicity of Cephalophyllum caespitosum
Cephalophyllum caespitosum is considered non-toxic, so having it around kids and pets is safe.
- Back to genus Cephalophyllum
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.