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Living Stones

By Mae Lenoir Rauen, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Horticulture Assistant

A living stone, also known as stone plant, is a dwarf, almost stemless, succulent perennial occurring naturally among rocks and pebbles in semi-desert regions of Namibia and South Africa. All are members of the Mesembryanthemum family and eachlithops salicola (22805 bytes) plant consists of a pair of extremely thick leaves, which are fused together to produce a stem-like body with a slit at the top. Depending on the species the slit may be a tiny hole or it may extend to ground level.

The most popular living stones are in the Lithops species (shown at right). They are fairly easy to grow as houseplants and are offered for sale by many garden centers and florists. Many colors, patterns and flowering types are available. Those pictured above are hardy and can also be grown outdoors.

Photos: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010