A Taxonimic breakdown of the genus Crassula
CRASSULA subgenus DISPOROCARPA
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
CRASSULA subgenus CRASSULA
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.
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
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.
Clasping leaves are fleshy with the underside convex. Hydathodes
are scattered on both sides of the leaves.
C. barklyi, C. congesta
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,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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