Crassula decidua

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Botanical Name
Crassula decidua
Crassulaceae - The crassula family.
KRASS-oo-la dee-SID-yoo-uh
Common Name(s)
Afrikaans: Noorsveld Plakkie
Plant Group
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Very Small
    Tree3m to 4m
    Shrub25cm to 50cm
    Perennial/ground coverUp to 10cm
    Bulb10cm to 20cm
    SucculentUp to 5cm
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Deciduous Plants which completely lose their foliage for part of the year.
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Frost: Hardy The plant can withstand freezing temperatures or frost without artificial protection.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Crassula decidua is a very pretty little plant  with grey-green leaves reaching around 6 cm tall (a bit bigger in cultivation), making it ideal for a small pocket in a rockery, a pretty pot  or a miniature  garden in a container. Unique to this crassula is that it is the only completely deciduous member of this family, (hence decidua​), losing all its leaves after flowering. The specimens in the photos are stained from the soil in my garden and would look a lot better planted in clean sand.

Crassula decidua is listed as 'Near Threatened' as two of its four confirmed subpopulations are from vegetation close to rivers, so are potentially threatened by agriculture. It is not common and difficult to find in nature.

The common name, Noorsveld plakkie, comes from the area in which it lives called the Noorsveld. This is an area of the Karoo much populated by Euphorbia varieties, called 'Noors' in Afrikaans. "Plakkie", meaning slipper or sandal, is an Afrikaans name for almost any succulent with flat leaves.

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small tubular flowers on branches at the end of a long stem

  • Summer to Autumn Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
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Growth Rate
  • Moderate Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape in the areas of Cookhouse, Somerset East and Cradock, in low karroid vegetation or in amongst succulent Euphorbia shrubs, close to rivers

Planting Suggestions

Crassula decidua needs full sun for part of the day to flower but will tolerate a little filtered shade. It grows among or below scrubby shrubs and Euphorbia, so is shaded from the burning rays of the sun in its Karoo habitat. This is a summer growing crassula and needs less water during winter. Plant in well drained soil and water only when dry.

Keep water to a minimum if you want the plant to flower. The dry habitat in which it grows receives around 250 mm of rain annually. The specimens in my garden have not flowered this year, perhaps because we have had too much rain for their liking (over 800 mm) during summer and autumn. So far (half way through July)  they have not lost their leaves either, another sign that they have had too much moisture.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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