Lithops ruschiorum (Dinter & Schwant.) N.E. Br.
Bushman's Buttocks, Hottentot's Buttocks
Lithops nelii, Lithops pillansii, Lithops ruschiana, Lithops ruschiorum subsp. nelii, Lithops ruschiorum subsp. stiepelmannii, Lithops ruschiorum var. nelii, Lithops ruschiorum var. ruschiorum, Mesembryanthemum ruschii, Mesembryanthemum ruschiorum
This species is endemic to Namibia. Its natural habitats are rocky areas and cold deserts.
Lithops ruschiorum is a stemless succulent that usually grows in a clump of 5 to 6 bodies or occasionally forms large clumps of up to 60 bodies. Each body consists of a pair of opposite thick fleshy leaves separated by a deep fissure. Leaves are bluish-grey, sometimes yellowish or brownish. The new growths are distinctly brownish. The bodies are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide at the fissure. The lobes are convex at the top, usually with a few red lines and dots, often very faint, sometimes distinct, but occasionally absent. A few faint bluish dots may also be present. The solitary flowers are yellow, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, and appear in fall. Fruits are 5-locular capsules with tiny brown seeds.
The specific epithet "ruschiorum (roos-kee-OR-um)" honors Ernst J. Rusch (1867–1957), a German farmer and businessman in Namibia who collected the species in 1923.
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 be 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 grow into the winter, but you should stop watering, even as the older leaves shrivel 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.
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