Living Stones Facts
- Firstly, the term Living Stones serves as the common name for a specific genus of plants. Additionally, all known members of this unusual genus evolved as native to one certain continent.
- The first scientific description of a member of this genus occurred in 1811. However, the discovery was made entirely accidentally. The amazed individual was the botanist William John Burchell.
- Currently, a total of 37 recognized species exist within the bizarre genus. But, scientists acknowledge that other, unrecognized species may exist. This holds true due to the nature of the region it inhabits.
- While some of the species appear to have stable populations, some do not. Therefore, the IUCN currently lists a few of them as Vulnerable. Finally, the primary threat these face is that of climate change.
Living Stones Physical Description
Since the common term Living Stones applies to more than one species, physical differences obviously exist. However, all of them still have numerous basic physical characteristics in common.
Firstly, individuals possess one or more pairs of leaves. Further, these leaves have a highly bulbous, almost fused nature. In addition, these display virtually no stem, and are place directly opposite each other.
These leaves also function as a form of camouflage. Due to this, different species show different colors, depending on the local environment. However, these mainly include shades of brown, cream, and gray.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Aizoaceae
- Genus: Lithops
Living Stones Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Most notably, the truly incredible Living Stones has a fairly moderate habitat range. That’s because it lives in certain regions of Africa. Also, the majority of its numbers appear in the countries of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
However, within that range, it inhabits a variety of both altitudes and environments. Therefore, it appears in either, veld, grasslands, or even bare, rocky ground. Further, it thrives in areas ranging from sea level to high in the mountains.
But, it does have a preference for quite arid climates. Because of this trait, the regions it lives in average less than 27.5 in (70 cm) of rain per year. Yet, within these ranges, differing species prefer various temperature ranges.
Finally, the various types of Living Stone have become quite popular as ornamental plants. This is due to both its novelty and the readily available supply of seeds. This does, at least, increase the chance of the survival of various species.