Cheiridopsis cigarettifera


This name, “Cheiridopsis cigarettifera”, is actually a synonym of Cheiridopsis namaquensis. There are also other synonyms:

Cheiridopsis breachiae
Cheiridopsis brevis
Cheiridopsis brevissima
Cheiridopsis curta
Cheiridopsis difformis
Cheiridopsis duplessii
Cheiridopsis framesii
Cheiridopsis hutchinsonii
Cheiridopsis intrusa
Cheiridopsis latifolia
Cheiridopsis longipes
Cheiridopsis luckhoffii
Cheiridopsis marlothii
Cheiridopsis quaternifolia
Cheiridopsis scabra
Cheiridopsis scabra var. fera
Cheiridopsis serrulata
Cheiridopsis subalba
Cheiridopsis tenuifolia
Mesembryanthemum difforme
Mesembryanthemum namaquense


Cheiridopsis cigarettifera is native to South Africa, in particular it’s widespread in the Western Cape province.


Cheiridopsis cigarettifera is a groundcovering succulent. It’s really small and pretty especially for its leaves, which are the reason of the species name “cigarettifera”. In facts, the leaves that develop after the blossoming are different from the elder ones. They are more skinny and fused for a part of their lenght. During the rest period, they remain upright reminding many close cigarettes. This is necessary to protect the younger leaves, which are hidden between the two leaves of each pair. The ordinary leaves (the ones formed before the blossoming) are narrow, slender, more grey in summer and greener during the rainfall period. Its flowers are bright yellow, with a lot of petals, also tiny (4 centimeter in diameter). Its blooming season occurs in spring.


It’s better to protect the plant from temperatures below 2-5 ÂșC. The substrate of cultivation should be well draining and rich in minerals. Repotting has to be done often, because C. Cigarettifera is a groundcovering and tend to expand horizontally, so it needs always larger pots. Fertilizers have to be applied once a month. The vegetative period of this plant starts in September: that’s when you have to start to water it, once every 3-4 days, waiting until the soil is completely dry before each watering.


Propagation can be made through leaves cutting. It’s sufficient to cut a leaf and put it into the soil in September, when the growth season of this plant begins.


The name “Cheiridopsis” comes from the Greek word, “Cheiris”, which means “sleeve”: during its rest period, in which there isn’t any observable plant growth (in the Summer), the old dried leaves form a sort of sleeve to protect the plant from direct intense light.

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