Crassula arborescens subsp. arborescens
Crassula arborescens is native from South Africa, in particular from Cape Province and KwaZuluNatal, another province of South Africa.
Its habitat is is characterized by gravel, sandstone, shale-derived soils: these plants form kind of colonies in wide areas in slopes, hills and sometimes valleys. It loves sunny spots.
Unlike other Crassulas, which are generally small plants, Crassula arborescens is a shrub that can reach 4 meters in height. It has erect, cylindric, articulate, rather branched stems. Its trunk is thick and fleshy and has a smooth, grey bark. Its leaves are greyish-green, often spotted in red. The leaf reach 7 centimeters in length, it is elliptic or obovate.
Inflorescences are densely branched and bear a lot of starry flowers, 1 centimeter wide, whitish-pink.
Fruits are 6 mm long, with 3-5 follicles. They ripen from November to January. Seeds are very small and are spread by the wind.
There are two subspecies: Crassula arborescens subsp. arborescens and subsp. undulatifolia, distinguishable one another because one (undulatifolia) has more elliptic, wavy, erect leaves.
Crassula arborescens is relatively simple to cultivate. It requires a sandy, well-draining substrate and a sunny spot. Water it moderately during the vegetative phase, maintain its soil dry during the winter. This plant can’t bear temperatures below 5ºC.
Propagation is made through stem or leaf cuttings to be rooted in a sandy, humid substrate.
As other species of the genus Crassula, C. arborescens is used from the local populations in treatments against epilepsy. Also, in a few region, its roots are eaten.
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