Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lithops Size Comparison

I was recently asked, on the German version of my plant blog, how big my Lithops usually are - or rather how big they can get.

I thought this was an interesting question and probably one that many Lithops owners (the non-professional ones at least) ask themselves from time to time, "Are my Lithops too small or too big? What's a normal size?".
So, I took some photos (of course... ;)) and I'm going to post about Lithops size today.

The page Lithops Facts and Trivia contains a section about Lithops forms. This describes Lithops with several heads and other specifics, so in this post I will focus on the actual size of single Lithops heads.

Lithops size always depends on the species. Different species can and usually will reach different sizes. "Big" Lithops are, for example, Lithops fulviceps and Lithops pseudotruncatella. "Small" Lithops are Lithops optica and Lithops dorotheae.

Here are some of my Lithops (some self grown ones and some which I bought) and their respective sizes:

Lithops dorotheae - 19mm x 12mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops dorotheae - 19mm x 13mm, height 14mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops dorotheae - left: 18mm x 9mm, right: 17mm x 10mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops olivacea - 14mm x 10mm, height 10mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops olivacea - top: 11mm x 5mm, bottom: 11mm x 5mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops marmorata - left: 21mm x 13mm, right: 22mm x 15mm, height: 15mm (both, at highest point) (bought, age unknown)
The measurements of the marmorata include the gap between the leaves!

Lithops marmorata - left: 12mm x 8mm, right: 15mm x 9mm, height: 23mm (at longest/hightest spot) (bought, age unknown)

Here it's hard to decide what to measure exactly. This marmorata, as the one above, has grown beautifully askew. I measured the top surface, including the gap between the leaves, but because of their slanted growth the two leaves differ in height and I was really measuring almost along a diagonal.
So, you might say, that these marmorata have cheated. ;)

Lithops marmorata - left: 15mm x 9mm, right: 15mm x 7mm, height: 22mm (at highest point, the leftmost leaf) (bought, age unknown)

Here the same problem arises as with the marmorata above. Again we have a slanted growth and the sufaces of the leaves are pointed, so it's really hard to measure.
But their form is really beautiful... no matter what their actual size is in the end.

Lithops lesliei - 36mm x 26mm (in the middle, right across the fissure), height: 13mm (bought, age unknown)

This is currently my biggest Lithops. It's already a two-headed one. Usually Lithops take on this size right before they are multiplying. So, it might be possible that both heads will grow two new heads this coming winter. The new heads will then be considerably smaller next year.

Lithops lesliei - 22mm x 15mm (bought, age unknown)

Lithops gracilidelineata - 28mm x 21mm, height: 10mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops julii - 23mm x 20mm, height: 17mm (bought, age unknown)

Lithops julii - left: 15mm x 7mm, right: 14mm x 8mm (bought, age unknown)

Lithops julii - 24mm x 18mm, height: 14mm (bought, age unknown)

Lithops gesinae - 17mm x 13mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops fulviceps - 9mm x 8mm (self grown, 2007)

Lithops fulviceps - 21mm x 16mm (self grown, 2007)

The height in all fulviceps is not really measurable, since they are very flat. In dry and hot times (when I forget to water them in the summer... ahem...) they shrink into the soil below the surface so that the small stones tumble on top of them. This is their mechanism for protecting themelves from draught.

So much for now about the size of my Lithops. Of course, mine aren't a universal standard, but it might give a nice point of reference to other Lithops owners.

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