Adromischus cristatus (Haw.) Lem.

It is over seven years since the genus Adromischus featured in ‘Plant of the Month’ so it is rightly time for it to be featured again, for the popularity of this genus remains very strong.

This month’s subject is Adromischus cristatus, originally named as Cotyledon cristata by Haworth in 1827. It is named cristatus for the crested undulate leaf tips. It grows in habitat in the Eastern Cape of South Africa – Fig. 1 shows a plant I saw a few miles north-east of Grahamstown with these characteristic leaves.

One of the favourite clones in my collection is that shown in Fig. 2 which originates from Eastpoort, north of Cookhouse. Here the leaves are mainly green (when photographed in November) but with a very pronounced and attractive white edge. In summer the leaves are much more red and/or purple in colour and Fig. 3 shows some propagations from leaves.

There are many different clones of this species available today – Fig. 4 shows two more examples.

There are also several varieties of A. cristatus that are well worth seeking out – var. clavifolius, var. schonlandii, var. zeyheri and the more recently described var. mzimvubuensis – but these are outside the scope of this small article.

If I have whetted your appetite for Adromischus yet again then I recommend you find out more at Derek Tribble’s excellent website Adromischus Displayed (

Tony Roberts

No part of this article may be reproduced without permission. Copyright BCSS & the Author 2021

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