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Lithops ruschiorum (Bushman's Buttocks)

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Scientific Name

Lithops ruschiorum (Dinter & Schwant.) N.E. Br.

Common Names

Bushman's Buttocks, Hottentot's Buttocks

Synonyms

Mesembryanthemum ruschiorum, Lithops ruschiorum var. ruschiorum, Lithops pillansii, Lithops ruschiana

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Lithops ruschiorum is a stemless succulent that grows solitary or usually in clumps of 5 to 6 bodies but occasionally forms large clumps with more than 30 bodies. Each body consists of a pair of fleshy leaves separated by a deep fissure. The leaves are pearl grey, yellowish, yellow-ochre, or greenish-grey. The upper surface of the leaves has irregularly shaped dots or linear depressions. The bodies are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) tall and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide. Flowers are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and consist of many long, narrow, yellow petals.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

These plants develop a new set of leaves every year, with new leaves emerging in the fall and growing through the winter and into the summer. Lithops will go dormant in late summer, and water should be severely restricted to prevent bursting leaves. The flowers appear near the end of summer or fall, first showing up as a small bud forcing its way between the leaves, and growth will begin again. It's safe to water during this period. The leaves will still be growing into the winter, but you should stop watering, even as the older leaves shrivel up and encase the new growth. In the spring, it's safe to begin lightly watering again as the plant begins to grow again, heading toward its summer dormancy period and the emergence of new leaves in the fall.

Lithops are very slow-growing, small plants, making them ideal as houseplants (once you get the hang of their watering schedule). Older plants form attractive clumps of "pebbles" in their pots, which are highly prized. In general, plants should only be repotted if there are cultural problems (soggy soil) or the plant has outgrown its dish container, which will only happen every several years.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Lithops.

Origin

It is endemic to Namibia. Its natural habitats are rocky areas and cold deserts.

Subspecies

Links

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