Compared to ssp. corallina, these plants look more sturdy, with leaves 4-5 mm long and wide. The leaves are also much whiter.
Another difference is that they have a tuberous main root up to 1.2 cm wide (macrorrhiza= with a big root).
This subspecies has a generally more northern distribution, from the Grunau-Warmbad area in Namibia to adjacent parts in South Africa, from Vioolsdrift to Kenhardt, usually on coarse sandy flats.
The flowers appear from October to January.
Plants of this subspecies are usually rather short-lived; they occur from southwestern Namibia southwards to Laingsburg and south-eastwards to Queenstown .
The branches are usually lying on the ground and rooting at the nodes.
The leaves are 3-5 mm long and 2-3 mm wide.
In December to April the plants are decorated with cream flowers.
This is one of the very few southern African Aloes without spines on the edge of the leaves.
The stems are rarely over 30 cm long and the leaves are up to 60 cm long and 15 cm wide, from greenish-grey to pinkish-grey with not very distinct longitudinal stripes.
The flowers are bright orange or (rarely) yellow on inflorescences up to a meter tall and appear from winter to early spring (August-October).
On flats with deep loamy soils, the plants are often abundant, but they also occur on rocky slopes.
The plants are not grazed, so when you see a great many together, this is an indication of heavy overgrazing of the area in the past. They are widespread from Worcester in the Western Cape to Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
Early November 2012, I published my first post in “Enjoy succulents”.
Almost exactly 3.5 years later, 399 posts have followed. To be honest, I’m quite astonished by this number.
When I started writing this post and looked back to see if there was anything that warranted dwelling on, there were two facts that jumped out:
— By far the most visited post is the one on Crassula umbella. Since it was published in September 2013, it has consistently drawn many more visitors than any other one. To be more precise: almost five times more than the second in line. Of course, it is an interesting species, but that goes for many, many others, so what makes it so exceptional? When I discussed it with my wife, she came up with the one question I should have asked myself: could it be because little mention of it is made on the internet? And yes, when you google Crassula umbrella, my post comes up first. So it is something like being one-eyed in the land of the blind.
— The other thing is the following. Now and then I publish a post that has a couple of good pictures and some nice text, with maybe some unusual or not generally known facts. Because I like the post myself, it seems natural to expect some positive comments by readers, but there is no apparent relationship.
On the other hand, when I publish something which I am not really happy with, people are often enthusiastic about it.
Well, maybe I just do not have a clear idea what visitors like and expect. If anybody could throw some light on this, I would be most appreciative!
With their leaves covered in big, coarse papillae (tecta=covered), these great little plants are unmistakable. The papillae protect the leaves again too intense light and strong wind, thereby reducing transpiration.
Some forms of Cr. namaquensis look similar, but the papillae are different and the plants occur further north and west.
The rosettes are 2-6 cm in diameter and often much branched; they bear leaves 2-3.5 cm long and 0.5-1.2 (-1.5) cm wide, the old ones remaining attached to the stem.
The flowers are white to cream and appear from April to June.
The plants are sometimes locally abundant on gravelly plains and lower slopes throughout the Little Karoo and eastwards to the Steytlerville area.