Pilea serpyllacea from Peru is not unlike a Peperomia in habit, but is a member of the unrelated nettle family. Its most noteworthy feature is the pellucid "window" on the underside of each tiny leaf. It is a delicate plant and likes adequate warmth. Pilea is credited with 400 species, and is the largest genus of the Urticaceae (45 genera, 550 species). Several species of Pilea are in cultivation llnder the name 'Artillery Plant', from the explosive ejection of the anther contents as a cloud of pollen.
The Stonecrop and Houseleek Family
Crassulaceae are the third largest Family of succulents, and form a good starting point for a survey of the group as a whole. Botanically, the flowers are the simplest structurally, and isomerous— that is. having the same basic numbers of sepals, petals, stamens (one or two whorls) and carpels. They have the widest range of habitats from marsh to desert, and the widest temperature tolerance, from the maximum borne by flowering plants down to sub-zero winter temperatures. They also have a wide distribution, and not many countries are without at least a few of the weedy annuals in their flora. They have the broadest appeal, not only to specialist growers of succulents, but also to lovers of alpines. screes and rock gardens, and a few aspire to be florists' flowers and delight those who find prickly cacti abhorrent. Finally, some are so unkillable that they bring solace to failed gardeners who never made good with any other plant.
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