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Turquoise Puya

Smicrostigma viride

South Africa is home to almost half the world's succulent plant species, including the rare Smicrostigma viride.  This unusual Ice Plant relative takes on an odd staghorn shape, with bluish-green leaves and stems.  Its small, wedge-shaped leaves are 3-sided and are fused at the base in pairs.  In spring and summer, the plant is covered in attractive, pink & yellow flowers.  This is a great collector's plant that is seldom seen for sale.

Smicrostigma viride

This is the only species in the genus Smicrostigma.  It's a small, low-growing shrub about 2 feet across and 18 inches tall.  It looks great when grown in a hanging planter and allowed to spill over the edges.  The branches turn woody with age, which is fairly rare for succulents in the "Mesemb" family (Aizoaceae).  The flowers do not close up at night, which also is unusual for the Mesemb family.  The odd name "Smicrostigma" refers to the small stigmas of the flowers.  You might be able to cross-breed this species with related Mesembs.

Smicrostigma viride

It comes from semi-desert areas in the Cape province of South Africa.  Summer temperatures there average in the 80s, but occasionally climb into the 90s (34 degrees C).  It usually dips into the 30s in winter (3 degrees C), but rarely drops below freezing.  The plant can probably tolerate a few degrees of frost, but i recommend protecting it from all frost.  It grows well in a fast draining soil, such as cactus mix.  It looks best when the soil is kept lightly moist and not allowed to dry out completely.  Full sun helps bring out the blue-green color the best, but some afternoon shade might be needed in hotter climates.  In the right conditions, it is easy to grow.

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Photo #2 courtesy of Albert SN

 

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Turquoise Puya

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