Crassula natans Thunb.
Floating Pigmyweed, Floating Crassula
Crassula natans var. natans, Crassula natans subsp. natans, Crassula levynsiae, Helophytum natans
Crassula natans is an annual, aquatic succulent plant. It has decumbent, filiform branches up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, often multi-branched when growing in marshy area, or slender floating branches up to 14 inches (35 cm) long. The leaves are linear shaped, up to 0.3 inch (8 mm) long and in marsh plants, or for floating plants up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) long. It blooms between summer and fall, producing white-pink flowers.
It is grown as an annual plant, so it has no USDA hardiness zone.
How to Grow and Care
This Crassula is endemic to the wetlands of Cape Fold area of the Western Cape region of South Africa. It has become naturalised in Western Australia where it is found in winter wet depressions and in gullies and lakes in the Great Southern, Wheatbelt, South West and Peel regions. It is also found throughout southern South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
It grows in moist soil often in clay-pans and in and around shallow standing water of dams and rock pools. On moist soil plants are often deep red, tufted, less than 2.4 inches (6 cm) tall and with up to 3 flowers per node. When inundated the floating branches become up to 14 inches (35 cm) long, are swollen at the base where they bear linear leaves while the floating leaves are oblanceolate and much broader, and produce rarely more than 1 flower per node. The floating stems are little-branched, and may be unbranched in plants growing in rock pools without much organic matter.
Collect whole plants that are drying off, turning red-brown with mature fruit-spikes. These will contain very small brown seeds when rubbed with your fingers. Place the plants in a tray and leave to dry for 2 weeks. Then rub the plants gently by hand or with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be very careful as the seeds are very small. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.
Crassula natans is native to South Africa.
Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids
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