Living Stones Facts
- Firstly, the attention-grabbing term Living Stones serves as the common name for a specific, and highly unique, genus of plants. Additionally, all known members of this unusual genus evolved quite closely grouped. In fact, all evolved as native to one certain continent.
- Furthermore, the first scientific description of a member of this genus occurred in the year 1811. However, the groundbreaking scientific discovery occurred entirely accidentally. The amazed individual making the discovery was the British botanist William John Burchell.
- Since that time, the fascinating group has expanded. Currently, a total of 37 recognized species exist within the bizarre genus. But, scientists acknowledge that other, unrecognized species potentially exist, and await discovery. This holds true due to the nature of the region it inhabits.
- Meanwhile, some of the species appear to have stable populations, while some do not. Therefore, the IUCN currently lists a few of them as Vulnerable. Finally, the primary threat that the various species known as Living Stones face consists of the growing threat of climate change.
Living Stones Physical Description
Since the common term Living Stones applies to more than one species, one particular fact remains paramount. That’s the understandable fact that physical differences obviously exist. However, all of the various members of the genus still have numerous basic physical characteristics in common.
Firstly, all known individuals within the genus possess one or more pairs of leaves. Secondly, these distinctive leaves have a highly bulbous, almost fused nature to them. In addition, these display virtually no stem. In point of fact, the leaves of the different species are also placed directly opposite each other.
This part of the differing forms of Living Stones also serve to function as a form of camouflage for it. Due to this, different species show different colors. That distinction occurs due tot the varying natures of the local environment. However, these colors 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 genus known as the Living Stones has a fairly moderate habitat range. That’s because all members of the scientific group live in certain regions of the continent of Africa. Further, the majority of its numbers appear in the countries of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
However, within that range, the impressive group of plants inhabits a variety of both altitudes and environments. As a result of this variety, it appears in either, veld, grasslands, or even bare, rocky ground. Furthermore, it also thrives in areas ranging from sea level to high in the mountains.
But, all of the species collectively known as Living Stones do appear to have a preference for extremely arid climates. Because of this trait, the regions the genus 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 members of this truly remarkable genus have become quite popular as ornamental plants throughout the world. This popularity occurs due to both its novelty and the readily available supply of seeds. This fact does, at least, increase the chance of the survival of various species.