Flowers are sessile, fleshy and very variable in colour whitish cream,
green, yellow to dull pinkish uniformly coloured or maculate with
reddish, purple or maroon, and glabrous.
Description: Larryleachia cactiforme is
a small perennial
stem succulent mostly solitary (or slowly clumping). This species is
quite variable particularly in the colour of
Stem: Globular to elongate, green or light green or blue-green
5-30 cm high, 20-60 mm wide, unbranched or sparsely branched short-cylindric,
and tessellate with roughly pentangular, flat or depressed tubercles
closely set together;
Leaves: Persistent, reduced to scales, in spirals or
sessile (and sunken), strongly adscending, 0.05-0.1 cm long.
Flowers: Appear (usually) close to apex of stems in extra-axillary
inflorescences 1 to 3 together on a tubercle apex, each about 6 to 10mm,
in diameter, simple, sessile, fleshy,
abaxially whitish cream, green, yellow to dull pinkish uniformly
coloured or maculate with reddish, purple or maroon,
adaxially white, cream, green or yellow, maculate, glabrous.
Blooming season: Flowers open synchronously in summer.
This plant has a highly specialized
pollination biology, that depends upon flies which are deceived,
partially trapped and used as collectors of the
pollinia which they transport to a cyathium (Flower) on another
normally in the
growing season, dry in the winter.
In the summer months they will grow well in
Since roots are quite shallow, use a
cactus mix or add extra
pumice to regular soil
potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining
compost is suitable, and
clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering.
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and
cultivars of plants belonging to the
has lots of synonyms
whit several controversial varieties and subspecies):
Scientific name: Larryleachia
cactiforme (Hooker) N.E. Br.
Origin: South Africa and Namibia
Habitat and biology:
It can be found on the eastern edge of the winter rainfall
region at an altitude of 800 - 1600 m. They are highly succulent
and adapted to very harsh and bright habitats. Larryleachia is a
very fine example of
convergent evolution, very easy to mistake for a cactus. However the
very similar development of very similar characters in plants evolving
in similar conditions although separated by very great distances or
otherwise impossible contact.
- Stapelia cactiformis
- Trichocaulon cactiforme
- Trichocaulon meloforme Marloth
Published in: Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Afr 2. 239., 1912
- Larryleachia meloformis (Marloth) Plowes
- Lavrania picta (N.E.Br.) Bruyns subsp. picta
- Leachia meloformis (Marloth) Plowes 1992 (incorrect
- Leachia picta (N.E.Br.) Plowes
- Leachiella meloformis (Marloth) Plowes
- Leachiella picta (N.E.Br.) Plowes
- Trichocaulon engleri Dinter
- Trichocaulon pictum N.E. Brown 1909
- Trichocaulon simile auct. - sensu Marloth
- Hoodia meloformis (Marl.) Halda 1998.a
NOTE: Larryleachia cactiformis includes
the former Trichocaulon meloformis and Trichocaulon
The genus Larryleachia was erected by Plowes in honour of Leslie
Leach, an English-born electrical engineer, self-taught botanist, and
specialist in Asclepiads and Euphorbias. This plant is perhaps best
known as one of the smooth-stemmed members of Trichocaulon, the
spiny stemmed species were combined with Hoodia, leaving the
former in need of a new generic home. The new genus Leachia was rendered
invalid as it had already been applied to a genus in the Asteraceae.
Realizing his error, Plowes chose a new name Leachiella. Despite
having checked as to the availability of that name no one realized until
after publication that it had been used before for a genus of red algae.
In 1997 it was finally designated as Larryleachia picta along
with several other smooth-stemmed species of the former Trichocaulon
genus, now the preferred designation among botanists today.