Besides other curiosities which I'll write about in another Post, I was delighted to discover that the owner, Frikkie, has a Lithops collection in a nursery called the "Cole Lithoparium".
Lithops is a genus of succulent plants in the ice plant family, Aizoaceae. Members of the genus are native to southern Africa.
The name is derived from the Ancient Greek words λίθος (lithos), meaning "stone," and ὄψ (ops), meaning "face," referring to the stone-like appearance of the plants.
Frikkie, a registered collector, has a stunning selection of these small thumbnail-sized plants which occur in the arid western areas of Namibia and South Africa.
I was so engrossed in taking pics that I missed a lot of what he was saying but, from what I could gather, he has examples of every known Lithops species. A reference says that he has the best collection of Lithops in Namibia but I think that this is possibly the best (most comprehensive) collection in the world.
I believe too, that he has discovered one or two species himself - I'll pay more attention when I visit again.
Lithops are also known as "Living Stones" and "Baba Boudjies" (Baby Bums) or "Beeskloutjies" (Cattle Hooves) in Afrikaans.
Besides Lithops, Frikkie also has other rare succulent species from this Region in his collection.
Another amazing desert plant.
I only have a 300mm zoom lens and was unable to really do justice to the beauty of these plants.
Individual Lithops plants consist of one or more pairs of bulbous, almost fused leaves opposite to each other and hardly any stem. The slit between the leaves contains the meristem and produces flowers and new leaves.
I had to smile - this variety is nicknamed "Hotlips" - you can see why from the plant without a flower.
A moss-like growth of tiny individual Lithops plants, many with small yellow flowers.
The most startling adaptation of Lithops is the colouring of the leaves. The leaves are not green as in almost all higher plants, but various shades of cream, grey, and brown, patterned with darker windowed areas, dots, and red lines. The markings on the top surface disguise the plant in its surroundings.
There are some better images of Living Stones on this related post.
Alte Kalköfen Lodge