Unusual for sure! This small, clump-forming succulent grows up to 6 inches tall. The leaves are thick, triangular, light green (turning purplish in strong sunshine) and up to 2 inches long. On the edges of the leaves there are upright, soft, white, up to 10 teeth in opposite pairs that look like.... you guessed it, a tigers jaw. But don't worry, the teeth are soft and harmless, and are a mechanism that helps to collect fog vapors in its native habitat. It's the perfect terrarium or fairy garden plant with its small stature and slow growth and looks lovely in mixed succulent plantings.
And as if all that doesn't make it one of the coolest succulents you've ever seen, it has bright yellow large flowers, up to 2 inch in diameter, that appear in spring and fall!
9a to 11b, native to South Africa
Interesting history from the South Africa Biodiversity Institute:
The first documented discovery ofFaucaria tigrinawas during an expedition in 1789 by Francis Masson, who was sent to the Cape of Africa by the King of England to collect plants for Kew Royal Botanical Gardens. The specimens ofF. tigrinawere sent to Adrian Haworth, a gardener at Kew, who recognized them as a new species. The genus name comes from the Latin wordfauxmeaning jaw andtigrinafor tiger. The genus has 33 species in total, all occurring within the Eastern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa.
The long, white, sabre-like teeth ofFaucaria tigrinaare actually not used for defence at all. The threadlike structures are special adaptations that help to collect water vapor from the surrounding air and direct it down toward the roots of the plant. Fog blows in from the coast to provide water vapor, a precious water source for plants surviving in the hot, subtropical thickets of the Eastern Cape.