Flowering Pebbles: The Plants That Look Like Stones

If you think that only animals are into camouflage, think again. Some members of the plant kingdom have their own share of deception to avoid predators. One of the perfect examples is the lithops, a member of the ice plant family. To prevent themselves from being eaten by animals, lithops blend in with their surroundings by looking like pebbles or small stones. This is the reason they are also known as pebble plants, living stones and flowering stones. The name lithops came from two ancient Greek words which means “stone faced.”


Lithops are tiny succulent plants with a slit in the middle. The fissure is actually the partition of the two globular leaves. This is also the part where the flowers and new leaves will come out. The plants produce either white or yellow flowers which are usually sweetly scented.
Lithops have no stem and the leaves are mostly buried to the ground with only the top part showing on the surface to allow sunlight to enter the leaves for photosynthesis. Even their leaves are not colored green like most plants. Instead, they come in various shades of cream, grey, and brown and the top surface is patterned with darker windowed areas, dots and lines. These colorings and markings give the plant their pebble look, the perfect disguise to prevent them from being feast on by grazing animals especially during times of drought.

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Lithops are native to southern Africa. Since they are quite easy to grow, many gardeners love to have them as house plants. They thrive in low humidity and don’t need frequent watering and care. They just need plenty of sunlight and well drained soil.