The Succulent Plant Site - The Genus Crassula
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Crassula spp
Crassula | Images | Cultivation


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A Taxonimic breakdown of the genus Crassula


The subgenus disporocarpa consists of annuals or perennials with fleshy or herbaceous stems, the stems seldom become woody at the base.  Hydathodes are marginal and are seldom found on both sides of the leaves.  Flowers form in terminal clusters, petals are smooth and lack dorsal appendages.  Basic chromosome number is eight and this group is believed to have primitive origin.

Heliophytum Section 1

This section includes annual or perennial plants, plants are erect or decumbent with glabrous herbaceous stems, rhizomes may be present.  The flowers are four merous, they develop in the axils of opposite leaves.  Plants that fall into this setion are widespread throughout Southern Africa.

C. natans, C. inanis, C. tuberella, C. vaillantii, C. aphylla.

Glomeratae Section 2

Plants in this section comprise small annuals or perrenials, sessile axillary inflorescenses appear near the upper part of the stem.  Flowers are star-shaped with acute sepals that are as long or longer than the petals.  The anthers are less than 0.3 mm long.  Plants in this section are found throughout Southern Africa, other parts of Africa, Australasia and India.

C. strigosa, C. numaisensis, C. oblanceolata, C. dodii, C. roggeveldii, C. pageae, C. umbellata, C. tenuipedicellata, C. glomerata, C. thunbergiana, C. decumbens, C. minuta, C. hirsuta, C. bergioides, C. campestris, C. schimperi, C. muscosa.

Dinacria Section 3

Plants are annuals.  Flowers are tubular and appear in terminal stymes without peduncles.  The petals have no dorsal appendages.  The plants in this section occur mainly in the southwestern Cape.

C. dichotoma, C. depressa, C. grammanthoides, C. filiformus, C. sebaeoides

Filipedes Section 4

The perennial plants are decumbent or prostrate with herbaceous stems.  The single flowers are star-shaped and occur in the axils of the leaves.  Widespread in Southern Africa, tropical Africa and Madagascar.

C. pappilosa, C. expansa, C. tenuicaulis

Deltoideae Section 5

The erect, decumbent or prostrate perennials have glabrous, herbaceous, succulent or slightly woody stems.  Leaves are obovate or oblanceolate and covered with pieces of wax (excl C. elsiae).  The flowers are tubular with a swollen base.   Plants are found in central South Africa.

C. elsiae, C. corallina, C. vestita, C. deltoidea

Anacamposeroideae Section 6

Plants are erect perennials, seldom annual, the stems are herbaceous, succulent to woody, stems are usually glabrous.  The glabrous leaves are flat with hydathodes appearing in dense rows on the margins.  Flowers are star-shaped, petals are 2-8 mm long, each petal has a sharp terminal appendage, styles arise from the posterior ovary apex.  Plants in this section are found in the Easter Cape, Natal and the southwestern Cape.

Subsection Fasciculares

The plants have herbaceous stems with prostrate branches that can be up to 400 mm long.  The leaves are not decidious.  The flowers may be single and axillary or appear in terminal styles.

C. pellucida

Subsection Petiolares

The plants have herbaceous stems with peeling bark and prostrate branches that can be 400 mm long.  The old leaves are not decidious.  The flowers appear in a terminal pedunculate inflorescens.

C. inandensis, C. spathula, C. sarmentosa, C. crenulata, C. streyi, C. multicava, C. cordata, C.lactea

Subsection Latifoliae

Plants categorized under this subsection are shrubs that are up to two metres in height, stems can be up to 120 mm in diameter.  Stems have peeling bark.  Old leaves are decidious.  The plant has an unbranched peduncle that is at least 30 mm long.

C. ovata, C.arborescens

Petrogeton Section 7

A roundish underground perennial tuber.  The tuber produces annual erect branches (up to 200 mm in height).  The flat broad leaves are fleshy with hydathodes on the margins.  The petals start from the base to form star-shaped flowers, flowers are seldom tubular.  Plants are found in the southwestern Cape, eastern Cape and the Drakensberg.

C. umbella, C. simulans, C. nemerosa, C. dentata, C. capensis, C. saxiflora, C. alcicornus, C. umbraticola

Galpiniflora Section 8

The perennial plants are prostrate, the branches are fleshy and end in a rosette of leaves, star-shaped flowers appear on annual branches that appear from the rosette.

C. peploides

Acutifolia Section 9

Shrubs can be erect or decumbent with fleshy to woody stems (papillate when young).  Leaves are sessile and awl-shaped with widely spaced hyathodes on the margins.  There is a membranous sheath between leaf bases.  Flowers are tubular with rigid petals that have no appendages.  The plants are found throughout South Africa and up to east Africa.

C.ericoides, C. dependens, C. sarcocaulis, C. biplanata, C. planifolia, C. tetragona



The subgenus CRASSULA consists of perennials with fleshy and a woody base.  The leaves are sessile and have hydathodes scattered over one or both of the surfaces, if the hydathodes do occur on the margins they appear in dense rows.   The inflorescence is a terminal dichasium, a cymose with two opposite lateral axes, with a peduncle.  The petals have a dorsal appendage or a canaliculate apex if the petal is smooth.  The styles are often indistinct and lateral stigmas are present.   Basic chromosome number is seven.

Squamulosae Section 10

The plants in this section consists of shrubby perrenials that have hair on the stem internodes, leaves have hairs on them when young.  The opposite leaves are not bent to one side of the stem.  Most species have stilt roots.  The hydathodes appear in two dense rows marginal rows.

Subsection Glabrae

The leaves have marginal hairs but lack blister-like hairs on the lamina.   The petals are 3-5 mm long and the styles are hardly distinct from the ovaries.

C. pallens, C. rudolfii, C. whiteheadii, C. muricata

Subsection Scabrae

The leaves in this subsection are covered with blister-like hairs that are indistinguishable from the marginal hairs.  The petals are 6-10mm long.  styles are 1/3 the length of the carpels

Subulares Section 11

This section contains shrubs with woody stems that are often covered with recurved hairs.  The leaves are glabrous without any hairs except the margins.  Leaves are usually bent to one side of the stem.  The flowers are tubular in shape, the petals are short and oblong (2-4 mm long), petal apices are recurved, the dorsal appendages are indistinct.  Plant distribution from Port Elizabeth to the southwestern Cape and to the Gifberg in the North.

C. multiflora, C. ymosa, C. lasiantha, C. ciliata, C. subulata

Curtogyne Section 12

The plants in this section are shrubby to decumbent and have woody stems.  Leaves are glabrous but marginal hairs are present, leaves are dorsiventally compressed.  The petals have dorsal appendage and are between 5 - 9 mm long.

C. flava, C. rubricaulis, C. dejecta, C. fallax

Kalosanthes Section 13

Plants are shubby and seldom decumbent , stems are woody and glabrous.  The leaves are flat and slightly fleshy, marginal hairs are present.   The plants are similiar to species in the Curtogyne section.  The flowers are long (petals 20-60 mm long) and tubular in shape.  Plants occur on mountainous areas between Bredarsdorp to the Cape Peninsula and to the Vanrhyns Pass

C. fascicularis, C. obtusa, C. coccinea

Rosularis Section 14

This section is quite large.  Perennials, biennials or annuals are present in this section.  Plants have a basal rosette of glabrous or hairy leaves.   The inflorescences are flat on top to elongated or spike-like, the inflorescence is usually a branch that gradullay changes to the inflorescence.  The flowers are tubular and the petals have a distinct dorsal appendage.  Some species are monocarpic (plants dies once it has flowered).

C. flanaganii, C. orbicularis, C. pseudohemisphaerica, C. montana, C. intermedia, C. socialis, C. exilis, Ctabularis, C. setulosa, C. natalensis, C. vaginata, C. acinaciformus, C. alba, C. southii, C. obovata, C. brachystachya, C. compacta, C. hemispherica, C. capitella, C. barbata, C. tomentosa

Perfilatae Section 15

The plants that make up this section are shrubs, the stems are woody and glabrous.  The evenly spaced tough fleshy leaves are seldom ciliate, noticable fusion of the sessile leaf bases  Hydathodes are dense along the margins and they may be scattered over the lamina.  The flowers are tubular with recurved apices, no distinct dorsal appendages are apparent on the petals (excl C. fusca).  Plants have distinct styles.Plants occur in dry areas, Eastern Cape to Namibia.

C. fusca, C. sladenii, C. perforata, C. rupestris, C. brevifolia, C. macowaniana

Columnares Section 16

This section has small herbaceous biennials or perennials.  The leaves grow close together to form a column around the stem.  Plants seldom branch and are generally under 150 mm in height.  Flowers appear in a dense capitulum and are sweet scented, they are long and tubular in shape.

Subsection Amplexicaulis

Clasping leaves are fleshy with the underside convex.  Hydathodes are scattered on both sides of the leaves.

C. columnaris, C. barklyi, C. congesta

Subsection Imbricatae

The leaves are flattened and slightly fleshy, leaves are closely packed to the stems but not clasping.  Hydathodes are present on the margins.

C. alpestris, C. multiceps, C. pyramidalis

Argyrophylla Section 17

Plants in this section are perennials with short erect branches that are up to 200 mm long, the hairy or pappillate stems are woody at the base.  The leaves are flattened to nearly terete with hydathodes scattered on both sides surfaces.  The flowers are tubular in shape and the petals are 2,5 - 5 mm long.

Subsection Epedunculatae

Plants are herbaceous and prostrate, roots appear at the internodes.   The inflorescence has no peduncle and leaves are shorter below the inflorescence.   Stigmas placed laterally.   Plants occur in the eastern Cape.

C. lanuginosa

Subsection Caducae

Plants are erect with slightly woody stems, inflorescence has no distinct peduncle, leaves shorter below inflorescence.  Stigmas placed laterally.Plants occur in the eastern Cape.


Subsection Sphaerica

The plants have feshy stems with woody bases, not rooting from the internodes.  The inflorescence has a distinct peduncle.  Stigmas placed laterally.Plants occur in Namaqualand, Northern Cape.

C. alstonii, C. globularioides, C. hirtipes, C. namaquensis, C. sericea, C. tecta

Subsection Pedicellares

Plants are perennials with fleshy stems that are slightly woody at the base, not rooting at the internodes.  Flowers appear in loose cymes on pedicels, a distinct peduncle (20-50 mm long) present.  The styles are distinct and have small terminal stigmas.   Plants occur in Namaqualand, Northern Cape.

C. ausensis, C. garibina, C. mesembreyanthemopsis, C. susannae

Arta Section 18

The plants in this section are perennials with short branches, not longer than 150 mm.  The leaves appear in groups of four closed ranks this gives the branch a column-like appearance.  The inflorescence is usually round in shape, the peduncle is 30 - 150 mm long.  The flowers are tubular (3 mm long).  Broad terminal stigmas are present.  All species in this section flower from January to April.   Plant distribution is west of the mountains in Namaqualand, Northern Cape, to the southwestern parts of Namibia.

C. elegans, C. columella, C. grisea, C. plegmatoides, C.arta (aka C. cornuta, C.arta)

Crassula Section 19

These plants are robust and up to 1.5 m in height.  The leaves are dorsiventrally compressed or laterally compressed and falcate, leaves are covered with papillae, old leaves persistent.  The inflorescence round or flat topped.  The flowers are tubular in shape and have long styles with terminal stigmas.  Plant distribution is from the eastern Cape and Natal to southeast tropical Africa.  C. perfoliata is the type species for the genus Crassula.

C. perfoliata

Globulea Section 20

Plants are perrenials, from dwarf rosettes to erect plants that are up to 600mm in height.  Leaves have hydathodes scattered on both surfaces.  The tubular flowers have distinct appendages on the petals which are rarely   canaliculate.  Plant distribution from te southwestern parts of Namibia to the eastern Cape and Dakensberg.

Subsection Fruticulosae

The plants are erect or decumbent with woody branches, leaves are decidious and the internodes are visible.

C. ammophila, C. atropurpurea, C. cultrata, C. latibracteata, C. mesembreyanthemoides, C. mollis, C. pubescens, C. rogesii, C. subaphylla

Subsection Herbaceu

The plants have short thick stems.  The leaves appear in a near basal rosette, leaves are not decidious, internodes are not visible.

C. clavata, C. cotyledonis, C. erosula, C. nudicaulis


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