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Origin and Habitat: Mexico (Northern America)
Habitat: Often found clinging on steep cliffs in crevices on the rocks.
- Pachyphytum oviferum J.A.Purpus
ENGLISH: Pearly Moonstones, Moonstones, Sugar Almond Plant
Description: It is a small to medium-sized slow-growing Mexican member of the succulent family Crassulaceae, it has characteristic loose rosettes with 'silvery globes' leaves. It grows in both shrub-forming and almost stemless rosettes and eventually forms dense clumps up to 20-25 cm tall and 30 (or more) cm in diameter. Several forms exist but the more popular is the round, egg-shaped leaf form. Pachyphytum rosettes will not die after flowering (polycarpic, versus monocarpic).
Stem: Short, prostrate, greenish to whitish.
Leaves: Up to 5 cm long and 3 cm wide, closely packed together, extremely smooth, plump and fleshy, obovate, grape-shaped, ± flattened spoon-like or tubular often reminding of Sugar almond. Range in colour from ghostly silver blue-green with a pearly shine to lovely pinkish blue, orange and even purple and may have a dense white powdery coating called farina, these characters preserve moisture and protect from strong sunlight.
Flowers: Up to 7-15 flowers grow on a 8-15 cm long arching, spikey inflorescences. They are small, pendant, bell-shaped, about 1 cm long, the outer is greenish-white and the petals are cream-colored to deep red-orange.
Blooming season: Winter to early spring.
Cultivation and Propagation: These plants are fairly hardy, and are common houseplants, they will require a free draining compost. Needs regular water in summer, but reduce watering during winter month , fairly drought tolerant elsewhere. They love full sun, with some shade during the hottest part of the day. A good light exposure helps to keep the plants compact and encourage leaf colour and flowering. The white pruinose stem coatings of the plants in our collection sometime is not so intense as those of the plants in their natural habitat but the difference in coating is thought due to the higher humidity and less intense sunlight of our climate. However, like Graptopetalum and Echeveria, pachyphytum is sensitive to being handled, as skin oil can damage leaves, in particular those with a pearlescent colouration or farina.After growing for several years tend to become untidy, and should be cut very short or restarted from cuttings.
Frost Tolerance: Hardy to -7°C. Pachyphytum are sensitive to mealybugs.
Propagation: Cuttings, seeds. New plants can be also propagated from orphaned leaves.
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