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Machairophyllum brevifolium


Scientific Name

Machairophyllum brevifolium L.Bolus


Machairophyllum latifolium

Scientific Classification

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


Machairophyllum brevifolium is a compact, nearly stemless, glabrous, perennial succulent up to 2 inches (5 cm) tall. The leaves are triangular in cross-section, whitish-green to green, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, and up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) thick. The flowers are solitary, bright yellow, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, and up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) in diameter.


USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °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' 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 withstand temperatures down to the freezing point. There are some Mesembs which begin to grow in the fall as the temperature drops and the days get shorter. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.


Machairophyllum brevifolium is native to South Africa (Western Cape).


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