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Glottiphyllum longum (Tongue-leaf Plant)


Scientific Name

Glottiphyllum longum (Haw.) N.E.Br.

Common Names

Tongue-leaf Plant, Gumby Plant


Glottiphyllum longum var. longum, Glottiphyllum cultratum, Glottiphyllum davisii, Glottiphyllum erectum, Glottiphyllum latum, Glottiphyllum obliquum, Glottiphyllum propinquum, Glottiphyllum pustulatum, Glottiphyllum uncatum, Mesembryanthemum cultratum, Mesembryanthemum latum, Mesembryanthemum longum, Mesembryanthemum obliquum, Mesembryanthemum pustulatum, Mesembryanthemum uncatum

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Glottiphyllum


Glottiphyllum longum is a small succulent with long, distinctively strap-shaped leaves with rounded margins. Sometimes they are also mildly curved or upturned at the tips, but not hooked. The flowers and fruits appear on stalks and remain on the plant for a long time. The seed capsules have 9 or more locules and persist on the stem for many years. This succulent is sometimes confused with the similarly widespread Glottiphyllum depressum. However the flowers and fruits of G. depressum do not have long stalks and are therefore held closely against the stem.

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Mesembs are mostly adapted to relatively predictable rainfall patterns rather than extreme drought and irregular rainfall. Total rainfall may be extremely low, but water is available at least seasonally or through fog and condensation. This leads to or allows plants which are not especially large and sometimes very small, and affects the way they need to be treated in cultivation.

The basics of care are very simple, with free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs' own adaptability and to follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.

These plants require a loam-based compost with the addition of extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation.

Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to freezing point. There are some Mesembs which begin to grow in the fall as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.


Glottiphyllum longum is native to South Africa (Western Cape and Eastern Cape).


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