Crassula natans var. minus (Eckl. & Zeyh.) G.D.Rowley
Helophytum natans var. minus
Crassula natans var. minus is an annual plant with decumbent filiform branches and fleshy, green to pale reddish-brown leaves. It is often much-branched when growing on a marshy substrate. The branches can grow up to 14 inches (35 cm) long and 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) in diameter. The leaves are linear to linear-elliptic, up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) long in marsh plants or up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in plants with floating branches.
A single white flower (rarely 2 or 3 in marsh plants) appears in the axils of the leaf-like bracts, usually between summer and fall but may continue as long as moisture is available.
Crassula natans var. minus is native to South Africa (Western Cape).
This succulent 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 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 and 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 tiny brown seeds when rubbed with your fingers. Place the plants in a tray and leave them to dry for two weeks. Then gently rub the plants or with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be very careful, as the seeds are tiny. 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.
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