1. Khantron says

    I saw some of these in the UW greenhouse. They look better with more appropriate pebbles.

  2. MikeG says

    I had one of these once. I killed it with too much water. Once in a blue moon is too often.

  3. F says

    I like them because they look like ornamented knobs or gemstones.

    I thought they looked like fancy leather ottomans.

    Very cool. Must look them up a bit.

  4. richarddmorey says

    They look like little hooves. Maybe someone buried an six-legged antelope upside-down…

  5. NewEnglandBob says

    Maybe add a little fresh pepper, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil. Serve with crusty toast.

  6. Modoc says

    Ha! I’ve owned these before. They’re hard to keep alive, because you have to be VERY careful to not over-water them.

    I called them butt-plants.

  7. llewelly says

    I don’t care for them. They are prim, snobby lips which are withholding secrets.

  8. cypress says

    Someone run for the slotted screwdriver!

    @NewEnglandBob: your recipe would be perfect if you just added a bit of bacon…

  9. David Marjanović says

    Have been called “living stones”.

    Comment 16 explains what Lithops means.

  10. SC OM says

    Maybe add a little fresh pepper, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil. Serve with crusty toast.


  11. Butch Pansy says

    I’ve grown them for years. I used to summer them outside (here on the West Coast of California it rarely rains from March til November) until the local Steller’s Jay population developed a taste for them. Even giving them a pebble-strewn landscape didn’t help, so now they’re behind glass year-round. I’ve moved into Scrub Jay country recently, but I’m not giving them a shot at them, either.

    Mimicry plants (and animal) are fascinating. Use your imagination to see the pix at the link to see another South African plant (there are some tough neighborhoods down there!) that hides as a blob of bird shit: Anacampseros ustulata (among others).

  12. chuckgoecke says

    I guess if one could demonstrate that they chew their cud, they might be halal.

  13. otrame says

    Pretty babies. I love me some succulents. I grew a few of these from seed. They are so cool. But I agree that they would look better with brown gravels.

  14. Ritchie Annand says

    I have tried desperately to keep these things alive the three times I have had them. I took the “don’t overwater” mantra to heart and they still died – ostensibly of underwatering, faster than any of my regular plants. Perhaps they need more constant but minimal waterings than regular plants need watering?

    I have to give up on these beautiful things, and I love exotic plants. Perhaps someone knows the right trick.

  15. Pikaia says

    Lithops are easy to grow as long as you are very sparing with the water. In spring they produce new leaves, and they should not be watered until the old leaves have completely shrivelled. If the tips of the leaves bulge upwards then they are bloated and should not be watered till the tops are flat. Once a year is adequate!

  16. Butch Pansy says

    Yeah, they’re very seasonal. Here in California that means a teaspoon of water at a time after they’ve absorbed their old leaves in the late spring, never wetting the soil completely. They subsist mostly on water from fog, in the wild.

  17. says

    They look like they’re about to burst out into a little a cappella singing to me. I imagine they’re going to sing “Because.”


  18. hje says

    Growing some from seed for the first time–one baby lithops so far. Very cool–but harder to keep healthy than most succulents.

  19. Zernk says

    Loves me some lithops. I think of them everytime I see my doggie’s paws.

    I first saw them in a little indoor living space for a tree crab. My friend said he wanted a low-maintenance pet, and the lithops fit right in. If you don’t ignore them, they turn goopy and die.

  20. Dr. Matt says

    The species in the photo is Lithops aucampiae. The plants are immature, probably about 2-3 years old from seed (they have adult coloration, but in all but the one at upper left the leaves are partially fused across the “face,” a juvenile characteristic).

  21. Haley says

    At least they accept the asteroid impact at the kt boundary, even if they get the date wrong by about 65 million years and think that humans were alive when it happened. ha.

  22. says

    For those of us lucky enough to have attended (and for those who will later view video of Richard’s 2010-03-14 talk), I think he might understood better why “divine knob twiddler” was so funny if he knew that, to Australians, “knob” conjures up images very similar to the photograph in this article.

    So, with that imagery, to imagine the “divine knob twiddler” hits a rather more earthy tone than the “tuner” he switched to for the rest of the talk :-)