Crassula pyramidalis

Crassula pyramidalis

Crassula pyramidalis

Small clustering succulent with numerous closely imbricated leaves on top of each other forming a perfect minaret-shaped quadrangular column about 12 mm in diameter, tappering at the obtuse tip. In full sun sun the apical leaves can take a nice purple ti
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Description

Small clustering succulent with numerous closely imbricated leaves on top of each other forming a perfect minaret-shaped quadrangular column about 12 mm in diameter, tappering at the obtuse tip.  In full sun sun the apical leaves can take a nice purple tinge.

Family: Crassulaceae

Scientific Name: Crassula pyramidalis Thunb.
In:
Nova Acta Phys.-Med. Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur. 6:329, 336, t. 5b, fig. 3. 1778

Origin: South Africa (Little Karoo, Namaqualand)

Habitat: Found in the succulent Karoo, on coastal plains, dry Fynbos and hill-tops on quartzitic sand stone, either in summer or winter rainfall areas.

Common names: Pagoda Mini Jade

Synonyms:

  • Tetraphyle quadrangula Eckl. & Zeyh.
  • Purgosea pyramidalis (Thunb.) G.Don
  • Crassula quadrangula (Eckl. & Zeyh.) Endl. & Walp.
  • Crassula pyramidalis Thunb. var. ramosa Schönland
  • Tetraphyle pyramidalis (Thunb.) Eckl. & Zeyh.

Etymology: From the Latin adjective "pyramidalis", "pyramid-shaped" referring to the square-shaped and tapering body of the plant.

Crassula is a very large genus. In general, only the South African species are of interest to the collectors.

The flowers are usually described as inconspicuous, but when accorded favourable conditions as to sunlight and a free air circulation they are pretty nice.

C. pyramidalis has Interesting “leaves” that are pressed tightly against the stem forming a quadrangular column. Makes unusual micro mini indoor Bonsai or houseplant. 

Description: Small sparingly clustering succulent or small shrub, up to 10(-25) cm tall, 20-50 mm in diameter with numerous closely imbricated leaves, surmounted by a tuft of white flowers. It is pretty slow growing.
Stem: Erect to decumbent, dichotomously branching which topples over with age, but variable in size.
Roots: Fibrous.
Leaves: Small (4-8 mm across), ascending, equal-sized, extremely thin, flat, triangular-ovate, bright green to brownish-green that are firm and closely stacked on top of each other forming a perfect minaret-shaped quadrangular column about 12 mm in diameter, tappering at the obtuse tip. Margins entire. , tip bluntly acute. In full sun sun the apical leaves can take a nice purple tinge.
Flowers: Small sweet-scented white to cream-pink appearing in a dens terminal cluster (cymose capitula) the basal part partly hidden by the leaves. Sepals up to 5 mm long oblong-lanceolate, margin ciliate, tip obtuse. Calyx tubular ampulliform, about 12-14 mm long. Lobes white to cream, oblong-elliptic, fused in the flowers tips with a blunt beak. Anthers yellow. Bud reddish.
Blooming season: Mid spring to summer, unfortunately plants die after blooming.

It is a little plant oddity which is so appealing. It forms little and perfect square stemmed columns.

Cultivation: Outdoors in frost free areas, indoors all other zones. Easy to grow needs moderate water – not too wet nor too dry from autumn to spring with regular water in summer (careful watering required in winter), fairly drought tolerant elsewhere. Plants grow well in a well-drained mineral soil.
Cannot take direct sun in summer but generally needs sun part of the day to bloom. In deep shade it gets pretty weak and leggy  and eventually rots and dies. Crassulas are sensitive to mealybugs. Protect against frost.

After growing for several years
tend to become untidy, and should be cut very short or restarted from cuttings.

Propagation: Seeds/ Stem cuttings. Sow seeds in autumn. Plants root easily from cuttings, place cuttings in clean river sand, mist every three to four days, roots should appear with 2-3 weeks.