Anacampseros retusa


Anacampseros retusa f. parva
Anacampseros retusa f. rubra


Anacampseros retusa is native to the arid regions of southern Africa, specifically the Western Cape of South Africa. It is found growing in rocky, well-drained soils, often in areas with little to no vegetation. The plant is well adapted to its arid habitat, with thick, fleshy leaves that can store water for long periods of time. The small size of the plant allows it to grow in crevices and rocky outcroppings, providing it with protection from the harsh sun and strong winds. In terms of ecology, Anacampseros retusa is a self-fertile species, meaning it can pollinate itself, but it’s also visited by small insects such as bees, flies, and beetles. The flowers are open in the afternoon, and close in early evening, which makes it more likely for the flowers to be pollinated by diurnal insects.
The seeds of Anacampseros retusa are winged, which allows them to be dispersed by the wind. The seeds are produced in a cup of erect filaments that are dispersed by the wind. This method of seed dispersal allows the plant to spread to new areas, and increases the chances of successful germination.


Anacampseros retusa is a tiny but mighty succulent plant. It’s got a short, thick stem that branches out, and forms rosettes of fleshy leaves that are dark blackish-green and club-shaped. These leaves are so close together, they look like they’re packed in a tight bundle. As the plant grows, it can reach up to 4.5 cm in height, and even taller in cultivation. It’s got a close cousin, Anacampseros comptonii, that it’s almost identical to, but you can tell them apart by the rose-pink flowers that grow on a stouter stem. The stem-like rootstock can grow up to 1.5-2 cm in diameter, and the branches are vertically compressed. The leaves are densely packed, not more than 10-11 mm long, and green, brownish-green or dark blackish-green. The more light it gets, the more vibrant the leaves will be. The flowers grow several on a raised flowering axis, and are wheel-shaped with pale to deep pink petals, and about 25 stamens. They’re self-fertile, and produce seeds in a cup of erect filaments that are dispersed by the wind. The flowers bloom intermittently throughout the year, but mostly in the summer, opening in the afternoon and closing in the early evening. And the seeds are winged!


Anacampseros retusa is a tough little plant that can handle a lot, but it’s not invincible. The main things that can harm it are cold temperatures and too much water. If you give it the right conditions, though, it’ll grow into a compact plant with lots of flowers. It’s a slow grower, but it does well under cultivation. Just make sure it’s in a pot that’s at least 20 cm in diameter before it starts to flower. Use a well-draining mineral compost with little organic matter, and repot it once a year to check on its health and give it more room to grow. Watering can be tricky – it likes a winter rest and should be kept completely dry during those months. From spring to late summer, water regularly, but don’t let the pot sit in water and avoid getting the leaves wet in sunlight or it could get sunburnt and die. In late summer, reduce watering to help the plant go dormant. Feed it with a high potassium fertilizer during the growing season. It can handle some light frost if it’s dry beforehand, but it’s best to keep it indoors during the winter. It does well in bright light, but not direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. It’s great for container growing, rock gardens, and terraces, and makes a nice windowsill plant. Keep an eye out for pests and diseases like red spiders, mealybugs, and scales, but if it’s healthy, it should be mostly pest-free.


Anacampseros retusa can be propagated through several methods. One of the most common ways to propagate the plant is through stem cuttings. To do this, select a healthy stem that has at least one set of leaves and cut it just below a node (the point where the leaves emerge from the stem) using a sharp, clean knife. Allow the cutting to dry for a few days to allow the wound to callus over before planting it in well-draining soil or a rooting hormone. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged and in a bright, warm location. Once the cutting has rooted and begun to grow, it can be transplanted into a larger pot or into the ground. Another method of propagation is by leaf cuttings. This method is similar to stem cuttings, but instead of cutting a stem, individual leaves can be cut and planted. The leaf should be pressed firmly into the soil and kept moist and warm. A new plant will grow from the base of the leaf, forming a rosette. Seeds can also be used to propagate Anacampseros retusa. The seeds should be sown in a well-draining soil or seed compost and kept warm and moist. Cover the seeds with a layer of horticultural grit or vermiculite to keep the seed moist. Keep the seed tray in a propagator or cover with a plastic bag and place in a warm place until germination occurs. Propagation through division is also possible, it is done by carefully separating offsets from the mother plant and potting them up individually.


The genus name Anacampseros comes from the Greek words “aná” meaning “back” and “kampse” meaning “to recover”, referring to the historical use of some species in this genus as a medicinal plant to restore lost love or lost things. The species name retusa comes from the Latin word “retusus” meaning “blunt” or “not pointed”, referring to the shape of the leaves.

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