Crassula alba

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Sotho names Feko, Khato; Zulu names: Impakatha, Isidwe, Isikhelekhehlane

Despite its species name alba, which means white, the flowers of this plant are most often bright red or striking yellow in South Africa. Its range extends all the way through Africa to Yemen along the Eastern seaboard – further North white varieties are more common. Usually found in rocky grassland areas where the big flat topped inflorescence is easy to spot even in the long grass of late summer. The fleshy leaves form a basal rosette and clasp the stem – they often have red markings.

Crassula are very rewarding to grow and do particularly well in difficult conditions – this makes them a very popular choice for roof gardens. Crassula is the larval host plant for Common, Henning’s and Tailed Black Eye butterflies and attracts many insects including bees.

Traditionally, used as an ingredient in war charm by BaSotho (to make one invisible), and decoctions were used for dysentery, diarrhoea, heartburn and hysteria by Zulu people.