Go ahead, take a guess:
Animal, vegetable, mineral … or alien?
Leaning toward alien, aren’t you?
Here’s a hint:
Note the pot in which they’re planted.
These little curiosities are, indeed, vegetable. Formally known as lithops (a genus that contains several species), they are succulent plants commonly called “living stones” or “pebble plants.” You can see why.
“Lithops are true mimicry plants: their shape, size, and color causes them to resemble small stones in their natural surroundings. The plants blend in among the stones as a means of protection. Grazing animals, which would otherwise eat them during periods of drought to obtain moisture, usually overlook them. Even experts in the field sometimes have difficulty locating plants for study because of this unusual deceptive camouflage,” explains enthusiast Nick Rowlette. “In the wild, lithops inhabit vast dry regions of southern Africa. Several areas in which these plants grow receive less than two inches of rainfall per month throughout the entire year.”
And, here’s the really cool part: Lithops do this:
You want some now, don’t you?
Well, then, awaken your inner dormant gardener from her winter sleep and indulge your newfound lithop love! It’s easy:
Order live lithops from a U.S. Etsy shop like San Pedro Cactus or try your hand at starting seeds from Whatcom Seeds Company. The seeds germinate within 14 days and, once started, need no water from fall until spring.