Conophytum praesectum N.E.Br.
Ophthalmophyllum jacobsenianum, Ophthalmophyllum praesectum
This species is native to South Africa. It is endemic to the Bushmanland region in Northern Cape.
Conophytum praesectum, formerly known as Ophthalmophyllum praesectum, is a dwarf succulent with a body that consists of two opposite, partially fused leaves. It can grow solitary but usually produces offsets to form a clump. The bodies are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall, up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) wide, and up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) thick. Leaves are thick, fleshy, olive green to brown with a translucent top surface. Flowers are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and appear in fall. They are usually purple or pink, but there are also forms with pale purple or white flowers.
The specific epithet "praesectum (pray-SEK-tum)" means "cut" and probably refers to the fissure between the leaves. It is a compound of two words, the prefix "prae-," meaning "before or in front," and the neuter form of the participle "sectus," meaning "cut or divided."
How to Grow and Care for Conophytum praesectum
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. To avoid sunburn, place your C. praesectum in a position to receive a few hours of full sun in cooler periods of the day. The plant stretch if it needs more light.
Soil: C. praesectum thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drain away quickly. Use a commercial potting mix specially designed for growing succulents, or make your own.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem, but the plant can be damaged when the temperature goes below freezing. C. praesectum can withstand temperatures as low as 35 °F (1.7 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10b to 11b, 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C).
Watering: When it goes dormant in the spring, C. praesectum requires little or no water. When it begins to grow again in the fall, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before between waterings. If leaves start to wrinkle during active growth, your plant needs water.
Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder and does not need fertilizer if it is repotted every two years.
Repotting: The best time to repot C. praesectum is at the beginning of the active growth period, but repotting can be done almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: This species is usually grown from seeds. Like all Conophytums, it is also easily propagated by division. The best time to divide C. praesectum is in late summer or early fall, before it begins to break dormancy or after it has flowered. Sow the seeds in fall in a pot with a well-drained soil mix.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Conophytum.
Toxicity of Conophytum praesectum
C. praesectum is non-toxic and safe to grow around children and pets.
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