Cephalophyllum spissum


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


Cephalophyllum spissum is an endemic species from South Africa, specifically to the Vanrhynsdorp District in Western Cape province. It grows in soils derived from quartz in synergy with many species of the genus Argyroderma and Crassula. This area is characterized by severe droughts in summer and rainfalls in winter. Already in Autumn the landscape become covered of flowers and vegetation.


Cephalophyllum spissum is a groundcovering perennial succulent. Its branches are short and its leaves have different shapes when young, then, once developed, become conic, similar to fingers, bright green. Flowers are outstanding, with their rose colour and their solitary habit. Cephalophyllum spissum blooms twice a year.


Cephalophyllum spissum is easy to cultivate and doesn’t have particular necessities. The substrate should be well draining and not too much fertil because this plant is used to poor soils. Its natural climate has raining winters, with a lowest temperature of 5-10ºC and hot, dry summers, with highest temperature of 30-35ºC, so try to maintain a temperature above 5-6ºC. This plant should be put in a bright spot to grow properly: it likes sunlight. Repotting is often necessary because the plant develops horizontally, and actually the best way to cultivate is as a groundcover, instead of inside pots. Water Cephalophyllum spissum every 3-4 days, waiting until the soil is completely dry before each watering.


Propagation is easy and is made though branch cutting. Once cut, the branch should be planted in a humid substrate and left in a shaded position until it roots.


The name “Cephalophyllum” comes from the Greek words, “Cephalos”, which means “head”, and “Phyllon”, leaf, referring to the weird, compact shape of the bushes of its leaves.

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