Dintherantus wilmotianus CM57 Cape Province, South Africa
It is a
mimicry succulent plant that thrive in dry and desert regions of South
Africa, it has reduced leaves which look like, both in colour, texture
and shape, the grey stones and pebbles found in their natural homes.
Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)
Scientific name: Dinteranthus
Publication : Notes Mesembryanthemum Pt . III. 153
Origin: South Africa, Cape province Poffader to
Kakamas on the Orange River.
Common English Names include: Stone plant, Green stone
plant, Living stone or Golf Ball .
Etymology: The genus has been
named after K. Dinter 1868-1945, German Government botanist
working in Namibia 1897-1935.
The species name has been named after Mr.
in quartz slopes, in summer raining areas.
Description: Dinteranthus wilmotianus are mimicry
succulent plant with reduced leaves which look like, both in colour,
texture and shape, the grey stones and pebbles found in their natural
homes. Their very particular structure and colours have developed in
order to allow them to live in the harsh conditions of their natural
It is usually solitary or few branched, with 3-5 branches each
with a single leaf-pair in the resting state.
Leaves: Blue-grey or grey-green with darkblue-green dots, 5-6 cm
long, rounded with distinct horny keels. The upper part of the couple of
leaves are divided by a deep, but narrow, cleft and united for half
Flowers: Solitary, yellow,
filaments basally white erect, staminodes absent,
Fruit: The fruit is a 6-10 locular capsule with broadly winged
Cultivation: Dinteranthus are
summer growing species with dry rest period over winter
but they do not shows an
apparent dormant season like Lithops. Easy to
grow they need a very open mineral, fast draining mix with little
compost and a high degree of grit, coarse sand, small lava gravel or
pebbles. Give them the maximum amount of light you are able to give
them, but care should be taken about exposing them to the full blast of
the sun rays in summer (The
only exception to this is seedlings in their first year that enjoy a
shades place) . Such tiny plants can easily
get scorched or broiled and their appearance spoiled (this may not
matter in the wild, where the Dinteranthus have probably
shrunk into the ground and becomes covered with sands).
The basic cultivation routine is: Gives some water all year, more in
Spring and again in autumn. Keep rather dry during coldest winter month
and start watering regularly after the old leaves completely dry.
(Usually late March or Early April) Water freely during the growing
season, soak the compost fully but allow it to dry out between
waterings. Some growers fertilize frequently, some hardly ever. Nearly
all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation
especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. If
too much water is supplied the plants will grow out of character, bloat,
split and rot. Keep them in small pots as solitary clumps or as colonies
in large, shallow terracotta seed pans.
When in doubt DON'T
WATER. Where the resting season is in the winter and central heating
gives very dry air in the home, give a light top spray once a week to
simulate the desert dew and prevent excessive dehydration. Overwinter
them preferably not below 5° C (but they endure some freeze if very
Note: After flowering in the summer and extending through
season the plant doesn’t need
watering, but they will still be
growing, the new
bodies will be increasing in size
water from the outer
succulent leaves, allowing them to
shrivel away. In fact the plant in
this time extracts
nutrient stored in the outer
succulent leaves, allowing them to
dehydrate relocating the water to
the rest of the plant and to the new leaves that form during this period
until the old leaves are reduced to nothing more than "thin papery
Propagation: From seed
(very small) or by dividing older clumps. Slow growing for a mesemb.
Remarks: The strange
appearance of Dinteranthus have made them very popular in
succulent collections. They are similar
in habit to Lithops but grows above ground (only D. vanzily is
partly subterranean like Lithops with the
top of each leaf tip exposed above soil). They are also called
mimicry plants as they show a
striking similarity to their background rocks and are difficult to
detect when not in flower. The Dinteranthus have a pebbly
look and are commonly known as pebble
plants or living stones; each species is associated with one particular
type of rock formation and occurs nowhere else. This camouflage also
reduces the need for chemical defences against herbivores.