Leslie Hill Stone Plant House
A close-up of Conophytum minutum var. pearsonii

In the Leslie Hill Stone Plant House you can see some of the most peculiar dwarf succulent plants in the world. The display represents a transect through South Africa, from the west coast desert to the east coast of the Eastern Cape. The middle beam of the plant house divides the winter and the summer rainfall flora. In the north-east corner you will see (or not!) succulents with camouflaging features such as Lithops, Conophytum, Euphorbia, Fockea, and Gasteria, along with rocks and soil from each region.

In the display are two species discovered by Leslie Hill, a succulent plant enthusiast and collector: Astridia hallii and a Lithops. As most of the plants with camouflage come from quartz gravel flats, this corner unit is based on the Knersvlakte. The name comes from the grinding ("kners" in Afrikaans) sound of ones footsteps on the stones and part of the floor is specially covered with quartz gravel for a hands on (feet on?) experience of the Knersvlakte. The gravel was especially collected from Oom Buys Wiese's farm Kwaggaskop.

Rocks from the various regions were introduced as well. These include Enon conglomerate, Beaufort- & Malmesbury shale, dolomite, surface limestone, limestone nodules, Dwyka Tillite, Quartz, Gneiss & Malmesbury shale.


Typical plants from the succulent karoo on display include: Aloe ericacea, A. microstigma, A. krapohliana, A. meyeri, Argyroderma, Gibbaeum, Muiria, Glottiphyllum, Bijlia, Conophytum Pleiospilos and Lithops, Tylecodon peculiaris, T. occultans, T. pygmaeus, T. scandens, T. tribblei, T. leucothrix, Bulbine mesembryanthemoides, and B. margaretae.

Little Karoo plants include: Ornithogalum sardienii, Haworthia truncata, H. maughanii, Quaqua pillansii, and Drimia haworthioides.

Plants from the Eastern Cape (thicket & Nama-karoo biomes) include: Haworthia springbokvlakensis, H. bruynsii, Euphorbia obesa, E. meloformis, E. horrida and Lithops peersii.

From the Tanqua-karoo (vegetation a mosaic of succulent & Nama-karoo) come: Tanquana prismaticus, Lithops comptonii, Didymaotus lapidiformis, and Crassula deltoidea.

Plants from the Nama-karoo include: Titanopsis calcarea, Prepodesma orpenii, and Deilanthe peersii.

From Bushmanland, find rarities such as: Aloe dabenorisana, Pachypodium namaquanum, Tylecodon sulphureus, Adromischus diabolicus, Lithops dorothea, Whiteheadia bifolia, Bulbine striata, and Bowiea gariepensis.


Biological control: Notice the gecko shelter in the corner of the house. It consists of a black board and a light. The geckos hide behind the board and the light attracts the Tiger moths. The Tiger moth larva causes major damage to mesembs, Crassula and Bowiea, among others. The light comes on during the evening and attracts the moths. The lizards devour the moths and thus lower the incidence of egg laying on the plants. Geckos used here include Bibron's Gecko (Pachydactylus bibronii, and the Cape leaf- toed (Phyllodactylus porphyreus). Gecko shelters have been introduced throughout the plant house.
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