Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pebbled tiger jaws (Faucaria tuberculosa)

One of the plants I brought home from the recent Succulent Gardens Extravaganza (see here and here) was this unusual South African succulent in a puny 2-inch container:

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Some of the plants I brought back from the Succulent Gardens Extravaganza

Its botanical name is Faucaria tuberculosa, but I find its common name much more interesting: pebbled tiger jaws. Taking a closer look at the plant, I can definitely see how the small white tubercles could remind someone of teeth.

Over time, Faucaria tuberculosa forms a small colony and will eventually look as beautiful as these specimens. This is a plant I want to enjoy up close so I’ll keep it potted, hoping that it will some day fill a small shallow bowl.

Planting it in the ground might not work too well here in Davis anyway since it doesn’t seem to be too hardy. In all likelihood, a light frost is all it can take (the literature is a bit vague on this subject). If I keep it in a pot, I can easily move it to the front porch together with the dozen of other frost-sensitive plants I have somehow managed to accumulate.

The reason why I’m writing about my tiger jaws today is that much to my surprise it has started to bloom! The flower is a bit squished, but it’s still a cheerful sight at a time of year when not much else is in flower.

Often it’s the small things (including small plants) that give you the biggest jolt of excitement!

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Faucaria tuberculosa flower. The dried black parts on the left are the remnants of old flowers.
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Faucaria tuberculosa
In this photo it’s easy to see the white tubercles that resemble teeth or spines.

3 comments:

  1. Gaz is not normally into succulents (it's more my thing) but when he saw this a few years ago in one of our nursery visits he liked it so much he bought one. And it's still in our greenhouse looking well :)

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  2. I love this plant myself. What a great bloom. Believe it or not I have one planted in my front planter by the house. It has lived through 2 seasons of cold and rain. It has some other succulents with it but seems to be ok.

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  3. Mark, do you keep yours in the greenhouse year round?

    Candy, very good to know that it's hardier than I thought! Maybe I will plant it in the ground after all. I'll take a look at yours next week.

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