Faucaria candida

When I first started growing members of the Mesemb. family I made a very important decision – that I would not grow any faucarias. As far as I was concerned they did not present any challenge or difficulty in growing them. However, once I had got the collection underway, I took photographs of it as it stood and, on examining the photographs, was surprised to see that, among the flowers on display in one of them, a number were in fact members of the the Faucaria genus. They looked most attractive, although I did not remember buying the plants, so where they came from I had no idea.

At that point I had a change of heart and started looking for more of that particular genus to buy. Having been to South Africa I did see them in habitat and noticed the variation among the genus. Some of them were relatively small plants while others grew quite large as I found to my cost when I began to grow them.

Faucaria candida

Faucaria candida

However, the most attractive of the genus is Faucaria candida which has white flowers instead of the normal yellow and does not seem to grow very large (well no bigger than a 14cm pot size). However Heidi Hartmann, who specialised in the Mesembryanthemaceae, put on record that she thought it was just a form of Faucaria felina, along with Faucaria duncanii and many others. I cannot agree with this as it so distinctive.

As you can see from the photograph it is also very attractive, even when it’s not in flower, having dark green bodies with a white keel and teeth that are also white. Flowers usually appear in the autumn and are at least 4–5 cm in diameter.

Nowadays my initial resolve has gone out of the window and I actively look for different members of the genus. The only problem with this, as I have said before, is the current lack of room in the greenhouse devoted to the Mesembryanthemaceae.

Eddy Harris

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