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Muiria hortenseae (Mouse Head Mesemb)


Scientific Name

Muiria hortenseae N.E. Br.

Common Names

Mouse Head, Mouse Head Mesemb, Schmoo Plant


Gibbaeum hortenseae

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Genus: Muiria


Muiria hortenseae is a rare, dwarf, succulent plant covered in soft downy fur and has leaves that are entirely fused together, into one smooth rounded body. In the summer it produces white or pink flowers, that tear through the flesh of the plant. The flesh then withers into a papery sheath, within which the new body forms. After several generations of subdivisions, it can form clumps.

Muiria hortenseae (Mouse Head Mesemb)

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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 the 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.


Muiria hortenseae is endemic to a very small area in the Little Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa.


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