Inspector Indigenous

InspIndigfairy-crassula

Crassula multicava – Common name: Fariy crassula; Afrikaans: Skaduplakkie; Zulu: umadinsane

A pretty little plant which prefers sheltered, frost free areas of KZN naturally, but seems perfectly happy in Midlands gardens too. Crassula multivcava is a fast growing, evergreen, mat forming groundcover which does well in both sun and shade making it very popular with gardeners. It grows quickly, and propagates readily – seeding freely, rooting easily from fallen leaves and producing plantlets on the flowerhead that drop off and develop into independent plants. Small wonder then, that in parts of Australia and America it has become a problem invasive plant. Over 150 species of Crassula occur in South Africa.

In late winter and spring, a froth of tiny flowers is held above the round succulent leaves – a mass of pale pink stars which have given it the common name Fairy Crassula. The leaves contain hydathodes (water secreting pores), which rapidly absorb water from the leaf surface.

Bees love the flowers and the larvae of some butterflies feed on Crassula leaves too. Infusions of the plant are sprinkled around the homestead as a protective charm against lightning and in traditional Zulu medicine it is used as a strong emetic.