Conophytum wittebergense

Conophytum wittebergense

Scientific Name

Conophytum wittebergense de Boer


Conophytum minimum var. wittebergense

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Conophytum


Conophytum wittebergense is a small, almost stemless succulent that grows up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall, forming dense mats with time. It is an outstanding plant with tiny bodies marked with a network of dark red dots and lines on top. The paired leaves bodies are variable, less than 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter with a small growing cleft that doesn't reach right across the body. The small white flowers are nocturnal and highly scented. It is extremely decorative, even without flowers.


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Most Conophytums need bright light but do not like too much intense sunlight. To avoid sunburn, place them in a position to receive a few hours of full sun in cooler periods of the day.

These plants thrive best in a porous growing medium that will drain quickly. Use a commercial succulent soil specially designed for growing succulents or make your own mix.

When Conophytums go dormant in the spring, they require little or no water. In the fall, when plants will begin growing, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before watering again.

Conophytums are light feeders, and they do not need fertilizer at all unless they are repotted every two years. It is best to feed at the beginning of the growth period and just before flowering.

These succulents will benefit from repotting. They typically need to be repotted every 2 to 4 years, depending on the pot's size and growth rate. The best time to repot a Conophytum is at the beginning of a period of active growth.

Conophytums are easily propagated by division. They can also be grown from seeds.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Conophytum.


Native to South Africa (Western Cape).


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Family: Aizoaceae (ay-zoh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Conophytum (koh-no-FY-tum) (Info)
Species: minimum (MIN-eh-mum) (Info)
Synonym:Conophytum scitulum
Synonym:Conophytum pictum
Synonym:Conophytum pauxillum
Synonym:Conophytum batesii
Synonym:Conophytum notatum


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Sep 23, 2007, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

All the synonyms of this plant are: Mesembryanthemum minimum, Conophytum albifissum, Conophytum batesii, Conophytum brevilineatum, Conophytum labyrintheum, Mesembryanthemum labyrintheum, Conophytum leviculum, Mesembryanthemum leviculum, Conophytum literatum, Conophytum notatum, Conophytum obmetale, Mesembryanthemum obmetale, Conophytum pauxillum, Mesembryanthemum pauxillum, Conophytum petraeum, Conophytum pictum, Mesembryanthemum pictum, Conophytum polulum, Conophytum praecinctum, Conophytum pusillum, Mesembryanthemum pusillum, Conophytum radiatum, Conophytum scitulum, Mesembryanthemum scitulum, Conophytum signatum, Mesembryanthemum signatum, Conophytum vagum, Conophytum wittebergense, Mesembryanthemum perpusillum, Conophytum perpusillum, Conophytum candelabriforme, Conophytum dedicatum. read more , Conophytum parcum, Conophytum roseolineatum, Mesembryanthemum glebula.

Conophytum wittebergense - garden

Origin and Habitat: Witteberg Mts., Western Cape, South Africa.
Altitude: 800 - 1100 metres above sea level.

Description: Conophytum wittebergense is one of the innumerable ecotypes of the very variable Conophytum minimum. It is an outstanding species with tiny bodies marked with a network of dark red dots and lines on top. It show an incredible complexity of patterns and growers have indulged in unnatural selection and the best-marked forms are highly prized. Some of those are well-decorated with fantastic red lines and other are almost black, due to the lines becoming a solid mass. The small white flowers are nocturnal and highly scented. It is extremely decorative even without flowers.
Habit: It is a minuscule winter-growing, almost stemless, perennial leaf-succulent up to 3 cm tall and forms dense mats or cushions with time.
Bodies (paired leaves): Variable, small, tiny, less than 1 cm in diameter with a small growing cleft that doesn't reach right across the body.
Colours: Silvery-green, variously spotted with dark brownish-red or purple dots and lines which turn a beautiful bright red-black colouration during the resting period.
Flowers: Abundant nocturnal, small, whitish, strongly scented. The thin petals are white, pale yellow or slightly and form an almost star-like, spidery structure and very showy.
Blooming season: Blooms mostly in autumn (in cultivation in Europe August-November).
Fruits: Hygrochastic capsules.
Notes: It is closely related to its neighbouring species Conophytum joubertii, Conophytum ficiforme, Conophytum piluliforme, and to the widespread Conophytum truncatum.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Conophytum minimum group

  • Conophytum labyrintheum (N.E.Br.) N.E.Br. : has the bodies 6-8 mm in diameter with the upper surface more or less flat, and the flowers to 8 mm in diameter.
  • Conophytum minimum (Haw.) N.E.Br. : tiny bodies marked with few to many reddish dots and lines and scented nocturnal flowers. It is very variable. Distribution: Western Cape.
  • Conophytum praecinctum N.E.Br. : has the bodies 6-8 mm in diameter with the upper surface vaulted and the flowers more than 8 mm in diameter.
  • Conophytum vagum N.E.Br. : has the bodies 9-15 mm in diameter.
  • Conophytum wittebergense" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Aizoaceae/27512/Conophytum_wittebergense'> Conophytum wittebergense de Boer : has tiny bodies marked with a network of dark red dots and lines on top. Some of those are well-decorated with fantastic red lines. Distribution: Witteberg Mts., Western Cape.

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Hammer, S. “The Genus Conophytum - A Conograph.” Succulent Plant Publications, Pretoria.1993
2) Hammer, S. “Dumpling and His Wife: New Views of the Genus Conophytum.” East Anglia Engraving Creative Colour Ltd, Norwich, England. 2002
3) Victor, J.E., “South Africa. In: J.S. Golding (ed.) Southern African Plant Red Data List.” South African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 14. SABONET, Pretoria. 2002
4) Opel, M. “Conophytum leaf structures. In Hammer: Dumpling and His Wife: New Views of the Genus Conophytum.” East Anglia Engraving Creative Colour Ltd, Norwich, England. pp. 300-321. 2002
5) Gard. Chron., ser. 3 71: 307 1922
6) Heidrun E.K. Hartmann “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae A-E” Springer, 2002
7) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors” Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug./2011
8) Wikipedia contributors. "Conophytum minimum." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 9 Sep. 2018.

Conophytum wittebergense Photo by: Giuseppe Distefano

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Cultivation and Propagation: Conophytum wittebergense is easy to grow, but like most, it will split and crack if overwatered (unsightly but usually not fatal). These plants grow on winter rain and head for summer dormancy. More or less dormant in summer.
Soil: They prefer a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. You can grow a plant in a 6-8 cm pot for years and have perfectly happy plants. For best results, use a shallow pot.
Repotting: Avoid to repot frequently. This plant may stay in the same pot for many years. Plants grown in larger containers have frequently relatively poor flowers. It might improve when the plants are given their own, small individual pots.
Watering: It requires little water otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water throughout the year although minimally in summer, (only when the plant starts shrivelling), but it will generally grow even in summer if given water. Water regularly in winter after the previous year's leaves have dried up. Requires good drainage.
Fertilization: The plants are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength.
Exposure: Keep cool and shaded from hot sun in mid-summer it needs full sun or light shade in the other seasons.
Hardiness: Hardy to -2°C. Ensure a very good ventilation.
Pest & diseases: Conophytums are sensitive to mealybugs.
Rot: Rot is only a minor problem with Conophytums if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing, and cooler and dry when dormant.
Use: It is an excellent potted plant great for windowsill culture as well as in rock gardens. Indoors only in brightest position.
Propagation: It can be reproduced both by cuttings and seeds. Take the cutting from a grown-up mother plant. Each cutting must contain one or more heads, along with a fraction of root.

Watch the video: Conophytum Watering And Care Part 1 of 2