Aren't these the cutest things? I purchased this little arrangement at the Mesemb Open House I attended yesterday, just because I didn't want to leave empty-handed. I don't know the identity of these members of the Mesembryanthemaceae (Mesemb) family, but I think all of them are Lithops, or Living Stones. They are also called Living Rocks, Flowering Stones, and Finger Magnets.
From what I've been reading, I'm not sure these little leaf succulents from South Africa and Namibia are for me. Their care is more complicated than I want to deal with, and the thought of learning another set of genus and species names gives me a headache. If I can keep these little guys alive for a season, I'll be surprised. If by some miracle they live to flower in the fall, daisy-like flowers, usually white or yellow, will appear from the split section.
Lithops are mimicry plants. In habitat, they are nearly invisible because they blend into their surroundings. In times of drought, they shrivel below the soil level, where they aren't seen at all. Once a year, the plant goes into dormancy and a new plant begins to grow inside the old. The old leaves serve as a nutrient source for the newly forming plant, and they will eventually be nothing more than dry skin, sort of like onion skin. Since they have extensive root systems, the plants need larger pots than one would think for their size.
The Lithops genus is oddly fascinating, but I think I've learned all I really want to know about them. I don't want to start another specialty hobby. One thing I know for sure about them is that they're cute!