The first leaves in the life of different Lithops species – a comparison

Lithops generally are easy to germinate. Most seeds, if not to fresh, will sprout in a few days, and there will be germinations many weeks later, too.

The embryo quickly forms a body, consisting of the two cotyledons or seed leaves and a tiny tap root.

At this stage, all you see is very green and extremely frail. Two green tips and a fissure in the middle – one millimeter all in all.

green cotyledon

The fine gravel looks like big boulders but soon the young plant will be able to push its way up to more light and sun. The tiny plant  changes quickly into the caracteristic shape of its species – a flat cotyledon like e.g. in L. lesliei or L. aucampiae, or barrel-shaped as for instance in L. bromfieldii. One other characteristic is the length of the tiny fissure, where the two fused cotyledons leave a gap for the next pair of leaves to emerge – the first true pair of leaves of the young Lithops plant.

terricolor 200 1Terricolor 85d 200terri 108d 200

left: 39 days old; right: 85 days old; bottom: 108 days old

 Lithops terricolor ‘peersii’ C131 has an apple-shaped cotyledon with short fissure. The hatchling changes  into a loaf-of-bread-like  shape with a short fissure.

verruculosa 39dverruculosa 51dverruculosa 170d

left: 39 days old; right: 51 days old, bottom: 170 days old

Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosa C129 has little, reddish-grey, barrel-shaped cotyledons with long fissure and a distinct pair of first leaves . The fissure extends over the whole face, bordered with ruby-red verruculae.

pseudotruncatella 36 dayspseudotruncatella 47dpseudotruncaella 176d

left: 36days old; right: 47days old; bottom:176 days old

Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’ C068 quickly forms ruby red, tiny barrel-shaped bodies. The colour fades to a dull greenish brown just until the first true leaves appear. The little plant is 2 – 4 mm wide. Very short fissure, hardly visible.

otzeniana 39dotzeniana 86dotzeniana 170d

left: 39days old; right: 86 days old; bottom: 170days old

Lithops otzeniana C280 does not germinate as readily. The young cotyledon-bodies are green with a red hue and apple-shaped. The fissure runs through 3/4 of the surface. While the first pair of leaves appear, the cotyedons persist and split deeply. The fissure of the newly formed body runs from side to side.

lesliei maraisiilesliei maraisii 86dlesliei maraisii 103d

left: 14days old; right: 86 days old; bottom: 103 days old

 The cotyledons of Lithops lesliei ‘Maraisii’ C 153 form a flat elliptic body, shiny, grey with a lilac hue, and a small central fissure. The first true pair of leaves resemble the adult Lithops and have a short, reddish fissure.

julii brunnea 39djulii brunnea 98djulii brunnea 138d

left: 39days old; right: 98 days old; bottom: 138 days old

Lithops julii brunnea C179 has green or dull coloured, barrel-shaped bodies,  with a long fissure that nearly runs from side to side. The emerging Lithops looks like the adult and has a complete fissure.

hookeri subfenestrata brunneoviolaceaHookeri subfenestrata brunneociolacea

left: 126 days old; right: 175 days old

Lithops hookeri var. subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’ C019 makes fairly big, flat-topped, barrel-shaped cotyledons, reddish and dark, with short fissures. Just before hatching the cotyledons fade to a dull beige. The emerging colourful body is flat,  with a short fissure that sometimes runs over half or more of the surface.

hallii hallii 86 dayshallii hallii 138 days

left: 86 days old; right: 138 days old

Medium dark grey cotyledons are characteristic of Lithops hallii C119, shiny and flat, with a strong and long fissure over rhe whole face of the body. The first true leaves display a new colour, and a complete fissure.

julii fulleriJulii fulleri 170 days

left: 39 days old; right: 170 days old

A very distinct first pair of leaves emerge from small and inconspicuous cotyledons.  The cotyledons of Lithops julii var. fulleri C162A are round and dull coloured, the fissure is long. The new body formed by the two true leaves rises high above the slowly drying cotyledon, with a complete fissure and the fully visible grey conus of the typical Lithops. These plants have recieved the same amount of light and sun as all those previously shown!

aumpiae cotyaucampiae hatchling

both plants are 175 days old!

Lithops aucampiae C333 do their own thing. While some hatch and grow, others still await looking at the outside world. Flat, shiny cotyledons, barrel-shaped with a distinct concave face with a rim, grey or reddish, always dark, short fissure. The new pair of leaves form a nearly round, textured body, with a short fissure.

L. lesliei lesliei 'luteoviridis'Lesliei luteoviridis 173d

left: 86days old; right: 173 days old

Lithops lesliei lesliei ‘luteoviridis’  has flat, elliptic, rimmed cotyledons. The fissure is half the length of the smaller diameter. The first leaves look like a small Lithops luteoviridis; with a short fissure, as in all lesliei- seedlings I’ve seen.

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