Faucaria is a genus of succulent subtropical plants of the family Aizoaceae. The species are collectively known as “Tiger Jaws”. This refers to the spiny looking edges of the leaves. The name comes from the Latin word “fauces” (= animal mouth) because of the appearance of leaves.
The genus Faucaria was subjected to an extensive revision by Groen & Van Der Maesen in 1999. The 30 or so recognized species were reduced to only 6. The very variable Faucaria felina absorbing most of the species. This somewhat solve the issue of the numerous nursery plants sold as Faucaria spp.: The very large majority of them are just Faucaria felina.
Faucarias form clumps of stemless rosettes. They are small plants, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, thick triangular or semi-circular leaves, light green in color, turning purple in the event of strong sunshine.
Growing Conditions and General Care
The various species make excellent pot subjects and have been cultivated in Europe for over three hundred years. Some species, such as Faucaria tigrina, are quite hardy, while others can be prone to stem rot.
Faucarias are mostly spring and fall growers. They need good drainage but with a little shade they will do just fine even with extreme heat, although they do stop growing then, and they need water every few days. When they lack water, as many other mesembs, the stems die and some of the rosettes are not connected to the roots by any living tissue. When found in time, the rosettes can be used as cuttings and keep in the shade in a barely moist medium until the temperature cools down in the fall.
They bloom for several months in in fall or the beginning of winter. The flowers open around midday and close in the late afternoon. They often don’t open if the weather is cloudy, or if they are in the shade. Flower color ranges from yellow to white and even pink.
Most species will take a small amount of frost.
Faucarias are easily propagated by seed.
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