Gibbaeum album in full bloom is an unforgettable experience. Violet
flowers contrasted beautifully with an almost white plant body.
Description: Gibbaeum album is dwarf, compactm scarcely branched
clump-forming succulent with greyish-white united leaf-pairs. Growing ,
always above ground. The 4 to 15 leaf-pais, develops mainly towards the
outer edge hence pressed laterally to the soil, the interior of old
plants is occupied by persisting old capsules and old leaves remnants.
Leaves: Up to 2.5 cm tall,
isophyllous, 2 paired, unequal, asymmetric, (of which one more long)
developed into a prominent, slightly triangular and oblique keeled chin,
mostly melted in each other, with a chalky white to greyish-white
metallic colour, but not shining, because the leaf surface is folded by
short, branched interlocking hairs.
Flowers: Daisy-like, white, pink to dark violet up to 30 mm long,
pedicel 5-15 mm. The petals gradually inter-grade into white-pinkish
Blooming season: Summer and long lasting.
Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)
Scientific name: Gibbaeum album
Origin: South Africa (Cape Province:
Habitat: Grows in field of
The genus name "Gibbaeum"
is derived from the Latin word "gibba" which
means "hump" got its name from the leaf pair where the leaves
differ from each other in shape and size.
The name 'album' comes from the Latin for 'white',
the colour of the leaves.
Various species of the genus Gibbaeum
are called in Afrikaans, ‘Haaibekkie’. In English this means ‘beak of
a shark’. This very apt name is derived from the shape of the two
leaves that together form the plant growth. They differ in size and
because these leaves grow closely together the fissure of most species
looks exactly like the beak of a shark, though without the teeth of
course. Gibbaeum album itself has also a South-African name,
Bababoutjie, which means baby’s bottom.
Cultivation: Gibbaeums are
"winter" growers heading for summer dormancy and notoriously difficult
to grow because they rot very easily, but G. album is not
so difficult in cultivation, keeps going over the summer too and don’t’
need very special care . Requires little water otherwise its epidermis
breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water minimally in summer, only
when the plant starts shrivelling, water more abundantly when they are
growing in the fall and spring. Requires good drainage. Keep cool and
shaded in summer, need full sun or light shade. They will take a light
frost (Hardy to -5°C) if they are in dry soil.
cuttings. It is best sown in autumn.
- Gibbaeum album N.E.Br. var.
roseum N.E.Br. 1927
- Gibbaeum album N.E.Br. forma
forma roseum (N.E.Br.) G.D.Rowley 1958
Note: the leaves
of this plant are very similar to those of Argyroderma congregatum
and Antimima dualis.