Family: Apocynaceae
Habitat: Somalia, Yemen, Oman.
Cultivation: They grow in full sun and require very little fertiliser and water. They can only be reproduced by seed.
Curiosity: The name “Pseudolithos” literally means “false stone” and refers to the appearance of the plant which, along with other succulents, looks more like a stone than a vegetable to an untrained eye.


The genus Pseudolithos grows in countries along the Arabian Sea, from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula: Somalia, Yemen and Oman. They generally grow in gritty soils in dry, tropical environment, with plenty of sunlight.

These plants have a single stem or a little bunch of stems, with a pitted surface, looking almost like a stone with a very irregular top or some reptile’s pat: this is an effect given by the numerous tubercles at the base of the stem,barely noticeable. They don’t exceed 2-7 centimeters of height. This feature, together with their lumpy appearance, make them really sought after by succulent collectors. From the broken little stems, latex leaks off. Stems are tetrangular or globose (like in P. migiurtinus) and can be bluish-green or light brown, 1 to 5 centimeters long and 1-6 millimeters wide.

Leaves are reduced to scales, and the photosynthesis is carried out by the stems.

Some species also have ribs, including P. migiurtinus, one of the most popular varieties on the market.

Flowers grow on these stems, on the top of them or along them depending on the species. They tend to be small and dark in colour: red, grey, purple. They spread an unpleasant odour that attracts pollinating insects, usually flies.


These are the species recognised to date:

  • P. caput-viperae
  • P. cubiformis
  • P. dodsonianus
  • P. horwoodii
  • P. mccoyi
  • P. migiurtinus
  • P. sphaericus

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Easy to grow and root, this succulent needs very little attention, however any mistake can be costly. Here below are our cultivation tips:

  • It prefers a half-sun position: bright, but sheltered from direct sunlight.
  • Pseudolithos are plants native to warm climates and it is good to keep them always at a temperature above 8-10 °C.
  • Water every 3-4 days in spring and summer, always waiting for the soil to dry well before proceeding. In autumn and winter, watering must be less frequent but should’t be suspended
  • Use a standard soil for succulent plants, or another well-draining and very light soil (for example, mixing a universal substrate with some sand).
  • Fertilize once a month with a product rich in microelements but poor in nitrogen.
  • Repotting can be done every 2-3 years, not more frequently.

These succulents can be easily propagated through branch cutting.

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