Mesembryanthemum (Psilocaulon) junceum

Almost all Mesembs are leaf succulents, but this species is an exception.
On young stems, leaves are present for a short period, but they fall off as soon as the dry period sets in. The leaves are small but at the same time quite succulent. One would think it to be wasteful to invest a lot of energy in producing something that is used for only a short while. Nevertheless it seems to be a successful strategy, as the species is widespread and often locally abundant. They act as pioneers on disturbed loamy soils and that probably explains how they can afford to be wasteful with their resources. The disturbance will in most cases aerate the soil and make nutrients available, so that for some time food is present in abundance.
The plants may be up to 60 cm tall and occur from Namaqualand to the Eastern Cape.
The flowers are white, pink or purple, up to 1.5 cm across and appear in spring (September- November).

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