Family: Crassulaceae

Native to the Canary Islands, North Africa and the Mediterranean, these sometimes short-lived succulents range in size from 60 cm (24 in) in diameter to small rosettes, which are just 3 cm (about 1 in) in diameter. The leaves are arranged in terminal rosettes. They are occasionally stemless, and they also vary considerably in both texture and thickness. Attractive, star-shaped flowers in yellow, red or cream emerge from the rosette center in the spring. In some species the flowering head dies after setting seed or producing offsets. Some of the species are self-fertile.


A. arboreum has erect stems, branching mostly from the base, green rosettes and golden yellow flowers. It grows to 1 m (3 ft). 'Atropurpureum' has plain green leaves in winter, turning purplish brown in summer.

A. canariense has very large, almost stemless, green rosettes growing to 50 cm (20 in) in diameter. The leaves are soft and velvety and the flowers are pale green.

A. haworthii is a bushy plant which grows to 60 cm (24 in). It has thin stems, dense rosettes, blueish green leaves, with red margins, and white flowers.

A. lindleyi is a small dense bush, with thin, gnarled branches, sticky leaves covered in minute hairs and small dark green rosettes which close into tight balls during the resting period. The flowers are golden yellow. A. lindleyi var. viscatum has soft, hairy, sticky rosettes and yellow flowers on curved stems. The young branches are furry, becoming sticky and black as they mature. It is quite a tall plant.

A. tabuliforme is a remarkable species which also has a crested form. It has a stemless, flat rosette, the center of which rises to a cone from which the flowering stem emerges to become a pyramid of flowers colored sulphur yellow.

A. tortuosum is the smallest of the species, the loose rosettes forming 15 cm (6 in) high cushions. The leaves are light green, soft and hairy and the flowers are golden yellow.


Grow as pot plants in a cool greenhouse or conservatory in frost-prone Climates. Outdoors, these plants like full sun or partial shade, light and well-drained soil. While most species are easy to grow, some of the more tender species, such as A. tabuliforme, need protection in winter from excessive rain. Propagate from seed or cuttings in spring and summer.


Zone 9 and above.

Aechmea      Aerides