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Echeveria ‘Scorpio’

£7.99 £5.95

A fantastic 2012 cultivar with lovely dark coloured leaves with hairy tips. The flowers are a real feature, being held on strong compact stems.

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Product Description

There are a number of somewhat different definitions of the term succulent. One difference lies in whether or not roots are included in the parts of a plant which make it a succulent. Some authors include roots, as in the definition “plants in which the leaves, stem or roots have become more than usually fleshy by the development of water-storing tissue.”[1] Others exclude roots, as in the definition “a plant with thick, fleshy and swollen stems and/or leaves, adapted to dry environments”.[2] This difference affects the relationship between succulents and “geophytes” – plants that survive unfavorable seasons as a resting bud on an underground organ.[3] These underground organs, such as bulbs, corms and tubers, are often fleshy with water-storing tissues. Thus if roots are included in the definition, many geophytes would be classed as succulents.

Plants adapted to living in dry environments are termed xerophytes; thus succulents are often xerophytes. However, not all xerophytes are succulents, since there are other ways of adapting to a shortage of water, e.g. by developing small leaves which may roll up or having leathery rather than succulent leaves.[4] Nor are all succulents xerophytes, since plants like Crassula helmsii are both succulent and aquatic.[5]

Those who grow succulents as a hobby use the term in a different way to botanists. In horticultural use, the term succulent regularly excludes cacti. For example, Jacobsen’s three volume Handbook of Succulent Plants does not cover cacti,[6] and “cacti and succulents” is the title or part of the title of many books covering the cultivation of these plants.[7][8][9] However, in botanical terminology, cacti are succulents.[1] Horticulturists may also exclude other groups of plants, e.g. bromeliads.[10] A practical, but unscientific, horticultural definition is “a succulent plant is any desert plant that a succulent plant collector wishes to grow”.[11] Such plants less often include geophytes (in which the swollen storage organ is wholly underground) but do include plants with a caudex,[12] which is a swollen above-ground organ at soil level, formed from a stem, a root or both.[3]

A further difficulty is that plants are not either succulent or non-succulent. In many genera and families there is a continuous sequence from plants with thin leaves and normal stems to those with very clearly thickened and fleshy leaves or stems, so that deciding what is a succulent is often arbitrary. Different sources may classify the same plant differently.[13]