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Origin and Habitat:

Republic of South Africa, Western Cape, mainly in the Little Karoo, from near Montagu to Oudtshoorn, but has also been recorded near Willowmore and Steytlerville.

Habitat and ecology: Crassula tecta is a species endemic to the lowland plains of the Little Karoo. It grows on gravel plains and on gentle lower slopes among exposed rock, usually shale, and sometimes, but not always, associated with white quartzite pebbles in the open, away from the protection of larger bushes and in full sun.

The white papillae that cover the surface of the leaf give Crassula tecta a quartzite stone appearance and make it virtually invisible to passing predators.

The white papillae also act as a sunscreen by reflecting most of the sun's strong radiation, serving both to protect the leaf tissue from harmful UV rays, but also to prevent the leaf from becoming excessively hot, and like some cacti that are covered of white wool or hair, to make them a bit unpalatable for their predatory animals.



Crassula tecta is a small, attractive perennial with dull, grey-green, thick leaves 20-30 mm long densely covered with gray colored papillae that resemble the scales on a butterfly's wing.

It is slightly juicier than other members of the Crassula genus.

Growth is not very fast, but eventually compact clumps up to 5 cm high and 6 cm wide form, which are totally different from any of the other crassulas.

The inflorescence consists of a head of several white flowers at the end of a peduncle about 10 cm high.

There are several different looking clones of C. tecta.
Derivation of the specific name:

The scientific name comes from the Latin “tecta”, “tops of houses” and refers to the way the leaves cover each other, like overlapping tiles.
Flowering time:

Crassula tecta is a winter grower and usually blooms in autumn through mid-winter (between April and June in the habitat).

Rarely, very short, semi-succulent, usually single or sparsely branched, but sometimes heavily branched and usually swollen at base, shaft 5 mm thick, with old non-deciduous leaves.

Fibrous, little branched, adapted to cultivation in very shallow soils.

Subradical in basal rosettes. Connate, opposite and stacked at right angles to the pair above and below, oval to oval-lanceolate, highly succulent, 10-25(-35) mm long, 3-10(-15) mm wide, blade flattened, epidermis with short, hard, irregularly shaped papillae, enlarged towards apex, but often with curled lashes towards base, greenish-gray or grey, upper surface flat to slightly concave near base, undersurface convex, tip rounded, rarely acute or obtuse.

At the eastern end of its distribution the leaves are more flattened and keeled along the edge and tip.

Elongated globose thyrse. Scape erect, threadlike, up to 30-10(-12) cm long, covered with rounded papillae.

In the field, the inflorescence is usually unbranched, but under cultivation it usually consists of up to 3 partial inflorescences, in which case the plants may resemble Crassula sericea.

Several, tiny, white, 5 petals and sessile. Sepals broadly triangular, 1.5-2 mm long, with rounded apexes often obtuse, with recurved bristles and marginal cilia, fleshy, grey-green. Corolla white or cream up to 5 mm long, tubular. Corolla lobes fused at the base, oblong-oblanceolate, 3-4 mm long,

Crassula tecta

SKU: P1983
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