Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Help with a list of succulents!

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pachyfeel
Mar 31, 2017 7:18 PM CST
I am compiling an infographic of common succulents but I am worried about leaving out your favorite variety. If you have a few minutes I would really appreciate it if you had a look at my list and let me know if there is a plant you would like added (or corrected).

I've attached an image of my list so far:
Thumb of 2017-04-01/pachyfeel/cd866a

Thanks in advance! Hurray!
Name: Daisy I
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DaisyI
Mar 31, 2017 10:56 PM CST
Wow! That's quite an undertaking. What do you plan to do with your infographic? If this is just for your own use/satisifaction, I would suggest you list YOUR favorite succulents. There must be 1000's and 1000's of plants that could be called succulents.
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Name: Steve Claggett
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madcratebuilder
Apr 1, 2017 8:04 AM CST
You well need a ream of paper to list the popular ones.
Spectamur agendo

pachyfeel
Apr 1, 2017 11:27 AM CST
Okay, I see what you guys are saying D'Oh!

What if we could pick (an admittedly arbitrary number) of say, top 100 or 200 most common or important succulents?

That should be do-able?! Of course very few resources would be complete and all-encompassing, but you have to start somewhere? Shrug!
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Apr 1, 2017 11:39 AM CST

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That looks like a fun project and yes, you have to start somewhere. Smiling

There are succulent guide books (for example various titles by Miles Anderson) which may help you narrow down your list of choices to what is representative and relatively popular.

Daisy asked about the intended audience, which strikes me as a worthwhile question when you're figuring out what to include. I would imagine most people would benefit from a sort of big-picture layout of all the little pictures you want to include, according to their relationships in the plant world maybe, or the kind of animals that pollinate them, or whatever strikes you as a useful and interesting way to organize the images on the page. Hard-core botanist types would often go for a graphical representation that somehow parallels the way the plants are related, for example putting aloes and agaves relatively close together because they come from the same family and are both monocots, but relatively far apart from say cacti and Echeverias, which are dicots (a separate group genetically).

I would favor some kind of organization that isn't strictly by the conventional book... by color, or shape, or size, or continent of origin, or something revealing that doesn't just rely on parsing the evolutionary tree.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 1, 2017 11:41 AM (+)]
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pachyfeel
Apr 1, 2017 2:37 PM CST
The audience would be public! I guess the audience would be neophytes like myself who appreciate plants but are not experts.

I like the idea of organizing by color and shape since that is easily understood by most people, and would be a practical way to browse a guide if you are looking for something particular to get for your room or garden or just trying to ID a succulent.

Thanks @Baja_Costero, I will check out some of Miles Anderson books!
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Apr 1, 2017 3:07 PM CST

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To answer your original question, and perhaps spark more replies, here are a few succulents I would consider for the short list.


[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 1, 2017 3:08 PM (+)]
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pachyfeel
Apr 1, 2017 4:26 PM CST
Very nice, I like it! Thank You!

I know cacti are succulents, but do people tend to informally / colloquially make a distinction between 'cacti' and 'succulents'?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 1, 2017 4:45 PM CST
All cactus are succulent but not all succulents are cactus. Then there are epiphytes (cactus that live in trees) and Yuccas (that don't seem like succulents to me at all).

I think somewhere, you are going to have to choose to narrow the content. For instance, just succulents that grow in rosettes (like Eceveria and Aeonium).

Or maybe just succulents that grow a caudex. Or succulents with round leaves. There are just too many choices. I'm going to have to go lie down now... Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 1, 2017 7:32 PM CST

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I agree about succulence and the plants on the margins (some of the most interesting to me).

For what it's worth, a lot of people on the street here in Mexico (the country with the greatest diversity of cactus species in the world!) routinely call any plant with a lot of spines a cactus... it's totally incorrect but relatively common. The local native cactus tree (the giant cardón, Pachycereus pringlei, largest cactus in the world) has a common name that derives from the word for thistle, so the connections can go both ways. Presumably people on the street might use a different word for an agave (again Mexico has the greatest diversity of agaves in the world) since they know where tequila comes from (Agave tequilana, another excellent pick btw). But the Mexican word for agave is actually maguey (pronounced ma-GAY) and you'll see people shake their heads a lot sometimes if you don't use that word for the plant.

The biggest confusion among the general public (between succulents and cacti) is perfectly resolved with Daisy's first sentence, and usually when I engage random people on the subject and bring that up, a little light bulb goes off in their head and they get it.



Name: Reine
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Reine
Apr 2, 2017 3:34 PM CST
Welcome! pachyfeel

Including some small Euphorbia caudiciforms would be nice. I think to a novice (or enthusiast) they would add some interest concerning form, flower and colors.

E. stellata, E. cylindrifolia, E. trichadenia. E. persitens, E. decidua, E. labatii, are just a few and there a noticeable differences in each of them.

One of my favorite groups of plants. Smiling

pachyfeel
Apr 2, 2017 3:53 PM CST
Thank you guys again, I am learning a lot.

I like the features/types of succulents that @Daisyl has mentioned so far:
Rosettes, With Caudexes, Epiphytes, Yucca (Exclude?) and Round Leaved.

Don't some succulents grow in a spiral pattern? Is that also considered a rosette or is there a special term for those?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 2, 2017 5:07 PM CST

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Yes, there are various spirals. Some stems spiral as they grow (crown of thorns for example, some cacti) and some plants make spiral rosettes.



I would not recommend the spiral aloe to others though, simply because it is on the difficult side, or at least not a good beginner's plant.

If you're interested in round leaves, look at Lithops and related plants. Or our native Dudleya attenuata, which makes leaves that are round in cross-section (like your finger). The botanical term for that shape is "terete" but it is a popular form among certain groups (eg. ice plants). The plant in the second picture is an invasive succulent annual ice plant from South Africa which out-competes our native Dudleyas in their usual coastal habitat.



There's various split rocks/living stones from southern Africa which tell a good story about mimicry and survival through dry times. Also look at windowed leaves (Fenestraria, windowed Haworthias like truncata, retusa, etc), which are fun visually. Consider highlighting cold hardy succulents (a practical issue for many people, and a small minority of the plants, eg. Sempervivum), heat tolerant succulents (desert dwellers care about this, eg. Agave "Sharkskin"), shade-tolerant succulents (for certain situations with lower light, eg. Sansevieria), sun-loving succulents (most aloe trees, for example Aloe marlothii, which makes amazing flowers).



Again maybe consider whether a tree aloe is good to include given most people can't just dig a hole and put one in the backyard, unless they live in a very mild climate. Green Grin!
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Hamwild
Apr 2, 2017 5:29 PM CST
What about Albuca? I mean, I think there is one that has leqves that spiral. I am curious what that type of growth is called as well, as it doesn't resemble a rosette. I'm all ears!

pachyfeel
Apr 3, 2017 9:01 AM CST
Oh I like the Euphorbia Caudiciforms and the Albuca is definitely a very unique looking plant to my eyes.

The split rock Lithops are pretty neat also - they look a bit like coffee beans.

I notice that many succulents seem to originate from South Africa, is there something unique about their climate or do they just have a lot of people interested in finding plants and naming them?
Name: tarev
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tarev
Apr 3, 2017 2:50 PM CST
I commend your effort pachyfeel! Lots and lots of succulents to choose from. Some would also group them as to tropical, desert and alpine succulents. Smiling
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 4, 2017 1:14 PM CST
Oh! Great idea, Tarev. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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pachyfeel
Apr 6, 2017 10:45 AM CST
Okay I have added Purple Crest Aeonium, Red Edged Echeveria, Golden Barrel Cactus, some Euphorbia, Albuca and a couple others.

I am trying to group them by shape but I could use a little help.

Questions:

What would you guys consider to be round-leaved?

Would you consider something like Pachyveria crassulaceae to be a rosette?

Would it makes sense to group "rock like" succulents such as lithops and Euphorbia symmetrica under the grouping of "Rock-like" (Or is that completely wrong?!)

Thumb of 2017-04-06/pachyfeel/08a148
[Last edited by pachyfeel - Apr 7, 2017 12:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 6, 2017 11:41 AM CST

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Technically I think Dyckias are not succulent. Their lifestyle is very much the same and I love them because they bring on the hummingbirds, but you might want to check on that.

In my opinion the so-called Purple Crest Aeonium is kind of a made up name for a plant that already had a great name to start with: Aeonium "Zwartkop". That spelling may look weird, but it's a Dutch word (the plant has Dutch origins) and it's the exact equivalent of Schwarzkopf in German, with the most appropriate literal meaning Black Head if you were to translate to English. Random trivia burst there for you but it does have to do with the character of the plant and its history.

To your questions:

Maybe the best way to go at which plants are round leaved would be to identify which ones are not. I think round is sort of a default for some groups of succulents (it is the most efficient way mathematically to store water). Some exceptions would be plants with lots of spines (for example agaves) or sharp angles (Crassula perforata), or more fibrous than succulent (Yuccas). Leaves that are long or pointy (for example Echeverias). And there are lots of succulents that don't make leaves at all, and they look round because the stem is round (like many cacti), so you would exclude those from the group as well, or consider expanding it, so there is no confusion. Some of my favorite round-leaved succulents are New World plants: Pachyphytum, some Graptopetalums, some Sedums. Also the common jade and Elephant bush (P. afra). Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls) is the ultimate round-leafed plant because they are literally spherical.



What is a rosette? You should probably look that up but my general use of the word describes pretty much any group of leaves around a stem. The spacing may be tight or loose. Echeverias and their kin all make rosettes (Pachyveria is actually a hybrid between Pachyphytum and Echeveria). Some rosettes are not real obvious as such, for example my avatar (Aloe plicatilis) which makes a flat rosette, or some trailing plants (Sedum burrito) which have an extended tail, or some rosettes which can pack together in clumps and be hard to resolve, like Dudleya attenuata.

In addition to the "living stones" (Lithops) and "split rocks" (Pleiospilos) of Southern Africa, I suppose there are probably a bunch of cacti which use mimicry to blend in with the landscape. Some are more camouflaged than rock-like (check out pictures of Ariocarpus in habitat). To my eyes the globose Euphorbias (symmetrica, obesa, valida) tend to stand out more than blend in because of their near-perfect geometry, but they most definitely would be able to blend in otherwise with their color and texture.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 6, 2017 1:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Apr 6, 2017 12:36 PM CST

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Patio plants here for visual input.

First up two Aeonuiums. The first is called "Sunburst" and it's bursting alright. The second is an Aeonium hybrid similar to the named "Cabernet" which can go through some amazing color changes. Believe it or not, one of the parents of that plant is "Zwartkop" (which is responsible for all the color, because the other parent is totally green).

Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/00ca30 Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/da21a7

Next 2 round-leaved finger Dudleyas, one showing seasonal stress colors.

Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/988768 Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/bfffb0

Two other plants with round leaves: Graptoveria "Opalina" and a Cotyledon. "Opalina" has a round-leafed Graptopetalum for one parent, which explains its curves.

Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/e4225b Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/c69f5e

Finally Euphorbia obesa (it's a boy).

Thumb of 2017-04-06/Baja_Costero/42d658
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 6, 2017 1:07 PM (+)]
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