Crassula nudicaulis var. herrei (Friedr.) Toelken
Crassula herrei (basionym), Globulea nudicaulis, Globulea nudicaulis var. herrei
Crassula nudicaulis var. herrei, also known as Crassula herrei, is a succulent perennial, up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall, with a shrubby habit. The leaves are green, grey-green to brown, near the apex more or less reddish, very thick, usually glabrous, semicircular in section and up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) long. The flowers are small, greenish and directed upwards. It flowers in spring and sometimes again in late summer.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
Crassulas are easy to grow, but they are susceptible to mealy bugs and fungal diseases. As with all succulents, overwatering is sure to be fatal, so err on the side of too dry rather than too wet. Never let your plant sit in water. If you water from beneath by letting the plant sit in a saucer of water, make sure to pour off any excess water after a few minutes.
These succulents are generally started by division, offsets or leaf cuttings. Crassulas can be easily propagated from a single leaf. Sprout leaves by placing them into a potting mix for succulents, then covering the dish until they sprout.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot your Crassula, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Crassula.
Crassula nudicaulis var. herrei is native to South Africa (Western Cape to the Orange River).
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Origin and Habitat: This species carries a large synonomy and has a wide distribution from the south-western Cape to the Eastern Cape, Free State, Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal.
Habitat: Dry stony slopes and sandy places. It grows in clay, loam or sandy soils. The available varied rainfall patterns all suffice.
Description: Crassula nudicaulis is a perennial succulent plant forming several basal rosettes with glabrous to pubescent leaves collected into a head at the crown of the root and amidst them an annual flower stalk surmounted by clusters of small greenish flowers. The typical variety is a widespread, extremely variable complex of forms that have received numerous unnecessary names, representing no more than local phenotypes. The long-leaved forms are readily known but those with shorter and broader leaves approach the narrower-leaved Crassula canescens. The pubescence however is much more scanty.
Root: Thickened taproot
Stem: Short or none, more or less branched, carnose to slightly woody, hairy or hairless, with old leaves remaining attached at the base.
Rosette: Close to the ground forming a sort of head
Leaves: Succulent, oblong-elliptic, semiterete, rarely linear-lanceolate or obovate to orbicular, acute, sub-pubescent, (20-)50-80(-150) mm long, (4-)6-12(-25) mm wide tapering upwards, acute to rounded, flat or slightly convex above, more or less convex below, spreading, rarely somewhat recurved in the north-east, glabrous to pubescent, with or without marginal cilia, green to yellowish green. Readily takes on red-brown accents from direct sunlight. .
Inflorescence: Loose cyme-like, 15-30 (or more) cm tall, naked, with 1-3 pairs of bracts at the top without axillary flowers. Peduncle 0,l-0,2(-0,4) m long, glabrous to pubescent.
Flowers:Small, cream-coloured or greenish, which often fail to open as broadly as other species do. Calyx lobes oblong-triangular, l,5-2(-3) mm long, obtuse, rarely acute, glabrous or with recurved hairs or papillae and marginal cilia, fleshy, green to brown. Corolla tubular to almost cylindrical, fused basally for 0,5-0,8 mm, cream, rarely white. Corolla lobes (petals), panduriform, 3-3,5(-4,5) mm long, each with prominent terminal dorsal appendages and with membranous petal apex on inside. Style sharp, stigmas lateral. Stamens 2.5-3.5 mm long, anthers yellow.
Blooming season: It flowers in spring and sometimes again in the latter part of summer.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Crassula nudicaulis group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) W. H. Harvey “Flora Capensis” Vol 2, 1894
2) Edgar Lamb, Brian Lamb “The Illustrated Reference on Cacti & Other Succulents” Volume 5 Blandford Press, 1978
3) Werner Rauh “The Wonderful World of Succulents: Cultivation and Description of Selected Succulent Plants Other Than Cacti” Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984
4) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
5) Stuart Max Walters “The European Garden Flora: Dicotyledons” (Part I) Cambridge University Press, 1989
6) Gordon D. Rowley “The illustrated encyclopedia of succulents” Crown Publishers, 01/Aug/1978
7) Gordon Rowley “Crassula: A Grower's Guide” Cactus & Company, 2003
8) Eggli, Urs “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants, Crassulaceae Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants.” Springer, Berlin 2002
9) Hermann Jacobsen “Abromeitiella to Euphorbia” Blandford Press, 1960
10) Hermann Jacobsen “A handbook of succulent plants: descriptions, synonyms, and cultural details for succulents other than Cactaceae” Volume 1 Blandford Press, 1960
11) Toelken, H.R. 1997. “A revision of the genus Crassula” in southern Africa. Annals of the Bolus Herbarium 8,1-595.
12) Van Jaarsveld, E., Van Wyk, B-E. & Smith, G. “Succulents of South Africa.” Tafelberg, Cape Town. 2000
13) John Wilkes “Encyclopaedia Londinensis” Volume 5 1810
14) John Manning “Field Guide to Fynbos” Struik, 2007
15) Christopher Brickell “RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers” Dorling Kindersley Ltd, 01/set/2010
16) Otto A. Leistner “Flora of southern Africa” 1985
17) George Don “A General History of the Dichleamydeous Plants . Arranged According to the Natural System”, Volume 3 J. G. and F. Rivington, 1834
18) Alfred Byrd Graf “Exotica, series 4 international: pictorial cyclopedia of exotic plants from tropical and near-tropic regions” Roehrs Co. Publishers, 1985
19) The National Cactus and Succulent Journal: The Official Journal of the National Cactus & Succulent Society, Volumes 31-34 National Cactus and Succulent Society, 1976
20) Dr J.P. Roux “Flora of South Africa” 2003
Cultivation and Propagation: Crassula nudicaulis are of easy cultivation and relatively low maintenance, which makes them a good houseplant, and can be an excellent subject for the beginning succulentophile (they can grow easily on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where they are happy to share their habitat with other smaller succulent plants, or in outdoor rockeries). They are spring and autumn grower (summer dormant).
Soil: They prefer a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. A acid soil is ideal. You can grow a plant in a 6-10 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. For best results, use a shallow pot.
Watering: Provide some water all year around, in the wild most of the growth occurs during spring and autumn. During the hot summer months, the soil should be kept moist but not overly wet. During the winter months, water only when the soil becomes completely dry. Wet soil quickly causes root and stem rot, especially during chilly winter months, but can re-root if taken care of. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Low ambient humidity is always needed.
Fertilization: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength.
Sun Exposure: They need full sun or bright, filtered light with ample airflow to stay compact, but avoid direct blasting sun in mid summer (with sun exposure the leaf develops a nice brownish tint), they do not do well in full shade as they tend to etiolate, fall over and rot easily.
Pest & diseases: Crassulas are sensitive to mealybugs.
Rot: Rot is only a minor problem with Crassula if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.
Hardiness: Although the plants will survive mild frost if kept dry (hardy as low as -5° C) they should be protected from frost to prevent scarring. USDA 9b-12
Use: It is an excellent potted plant great for windowsill culture as well as in rock gardens. Indoors only in brightest position.
Pruning: The small white flowers of these plants are not particularly striking and beautiful, and so it may be appropriate to remove the flower stalks at an early stage. Plants saves a lot of forces that can then be invest to increase the production of new and stronger side shoots.
Propagation: They are easily propagated by the removal of off shoots, remove a lateral shoot and insert the basal part buried in the soil. This shoot should root within a month, and small offshootd will form at the base. They can also be grown from seed.