Because of its beautiful flowers this species is often seen as a garden plant.
It may be up to 30 cm tall, with branches that are at first upright but later lie down.
The leaves are almost cylindrical, 5-9 cm long and 0.8-1 cm thick.
Its flowers are about 3 cm in diameter, bright purple outside and yellow or purple inside; they appear in July-Sept.
The species is found on loamy soil from the Namaqualand Hardeveld to the Knersvlakte.
This variety does not become taller than 10-30 cm when in flower and usually has many rosettes.
The leaves are apparently arranged in 2 rows, 0.5-1.5 (-2.5) cm long and (0.5-) 0.8-3 cm wide, densely hairy to smooth and with longer hairs at the margins. Even when flowering, the leaves stay close together.
Found from southern Namibia, Bushmanland and Namaqualand to near Laingsburg, usually in rock crevices or under overhanging rocks.
The first two pictures show plants in the resting period, the other two are of plants in active growth.
When in flower the plants are usually 30-60 cm tall; they consist of one to a few rosettes.
The leaves are tightly packed but become more separated when flowering. They are 2-8 (sometimes 10) cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide, usually densely hairy and with longer hairs (cilia) at the margin.
The plants are found from southwest Namibia along the western coast of South Africa to the Cape Peninsula and the western Little Karoo to near Laingsburg. They often grow in coastal sands, but also on gravelly slopes and larger rocks.
Forming compact cushions to 10 cm tall with leaves 4.5 to 6 cm long.
The flowers are pink to purple with a lighter centre and appear in July – August.
The plants are often confused with C. caespitosum but have fruits with 11-15 instead of 9-10 compartments.
They occur in the southern Knersvlakte in loamy soil among white quartz pebbles; often together with Argyroderma delaetii.
This year, I was fortunate enough to make two trips to Namaqualand. One of the delights of these trips was seeing C. minusculum ssp. minusculum in flower (pictures made 13th May), and in full growth (pictures dated 27th July). All pictures were made on the Gifberg.
The plants are quite variable and form low mats or domes of slightly keeled bodies with a shining green or purplish top, usually with conspicuous lines. The flowers appear mainly in March-June and are huge in comparison to the small bodies, magenta or rose, rarely white.
Found from the Cederberg north and west growing on Table Mountain sandstone, usually with moss and often in damp depressions.
The plants prefer acid soil in cultivation.
With Crassula tomentosa var. interrupta
Plants of this species form small compact cushions to 5 cm tall and 16 cm in diameter, with leaves 2.5-4.5 cm long.
The honey-scented flowers open in late afternoon and stay open for most of the night. They are magenta or white, up to 3.5 cm in diameter and appear mainly in July-August.
The plants grow in gravelly plains and rock crevices from southern Namibia to northern Namaqualand. Rainfall in this area is on average less than 100 mm per year and occurs mainly in winter.
Mesembs of the world (1998) supplies the following snippet of information: “Dracophilus plants are not very popular but are nevertheless often seen in collections”. In other words, many people do not really like them but still grow them. To me this seems to indicate that a lot of succulent growers are masochists, but maybe I’m just missing something here. I do however fully agree with another remark in the book : ”When well-grown, they can be very beautiful”.
Both the current and the old name refer to the white, bristle-like hairs covering leaves and branches in this species (hirtipes = with hairy stalks, hystrix = hedgehog).
The type plant was collected in the southern part of the distribution area, where some of the plants have almost hairless leaves. This probably explains the fact that the name hirtipes refers to the hairiness of the branches only. These branches are rather brittle and form tufts to 15 cm in diameter.
The leaves are lance- to egg-shaped, from round in cross-section to flat above and strongly convex below; they are 8-20 x 4-7 mm and usually as thick as wide.
The small tubular flowers are cream to yellow and appear from August to October.
Plants are found from Komaggas to near Vanrhynsdorp in habitats varying from gravelly slopes to loamy flats, often under rocks or bushes.