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 with decumbent, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long branches or slender floating up to 14 inches (35 cm) long branches. The branches are often multi-branched when growing in a marshy area. Leaves are oblanceolate to obovate, up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) long in marsh plants or up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long in floating plants. Flowers are white-pink and appear between summer and fall.
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 the Cape Fold area of the Western Cape region of South Africa. It has become naturalized in Western Australia, where it grows in winter wet depressions and 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 rarely produce more than one 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 them to dry for two 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.
This species is native to South Africa.
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