Greek lithos—stone, opsis—appearance.
Perennial succulent plants. Body consisting of 2 leaves fused at the base, the tip generally more or less flattened and patterneed, sometimes with a translucent 'window'. Flowers mostly solitary (rarely 2-3), emerging from the crack between the leaves. Sepals 5-6, free. Petals numerous in 1-4 rows, white, yellow to orange-yellow. Stamens numerous, free and forming a column. Ovary inferior with 4-7 chambers; ovule placentation parietal.
A remarkable genus whose bodies are camouflaged when in their natural habitat through their resemblance to the stones in which they grow. A collector's genus but not generally available except as occasional promotion for their stone-like appearance.
The commoner species, which are mostly yellow-flowered include: L. aucampiae L. Bolus which has flat, reddish brown tops to the leaves and flowers with yellow petals; L. lesliei (N.E. Br.) N.E. Br. which has green tops to the closely pressed leaves which are not patterned or dotted; L. hookeri (Berg.) Schwantes [L. turbiniformis (Haw.) N.E. Br.] with the tops of the leaves brown, rounded, furrowed and lined.
Stone like appearance of plant body, often with flattened and patterned upper surface; ovary chambers 4-7.
About 37 species from Namibia, SE Botswana and most of S Africa.
Sprechman (1970), Cole (1988).
Source: (1997). Aizoaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.