Leaf Succulents

Leaf succulents, in which the main i water storage tissue is concentrated in the foliage (1.3). make a natural starting point for a survey of all succulents, because in their less extreme forms they are closest in appearance and functioning to their mesophyte ancestors. In the two largest Families, however—the Crassula-ceae and Mesembryanthemaceae—one encounters the full range of degrees of specialization from relatively thin-leaved "conventional" shrublets (species of Kalanchoe. Aptenia and Mesembryanthe-

mum) to extreme xerophytes where it is not at first obvious that the plant body is made up of leaves at all (Crassula columnaris (2.7) and Conophylum (11.26). for example.

In addition to the five Families singled out for special treatment, representatives of many others have evolved fleshiness in a greater or lesser degree, and seven of the most interesting to collectors are summarized below. As pointed out in the Introduction, certain Families are omitted: Bromeliaceae because they are more the realm of specialist growers of epiphytes, halophytes because nobody wants to grow them, and Zygophyllaceae because nobody can.

Readers are referred to the diagram on pages 16-17 in which the Families including succulents are set out in context of a scheme covering all flowering plants.

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