The leaves of this young Crassula alpestris subsp. alpestris plant are strangely covered in sand. This is a characteristic survival feature of the species. It has to withstand temperature extremes of around 55˚C in its demanding habitat. The self-inflicted sand coating functions like the world’s oldest sunblock application, maybe the only one in the plant world.
The three photos of this Crassula shown here were all taken during September at Kagga Kamma in the Ceres Karoo, Cederberg country. Note how the other two plants, having no sand covering, are very red, a sign of stress which may be due to their nakedness in the face of the elements (or the exhaustion from flower production at the time).
Adam Harrower (2012) who has written an excellent article about C. alpestris for www.plantzafrica.com suggested the name of sand-coated crassula for the plant (www.plantzafrica.com; www.ispot.org.za; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; Manning and Goldblatt, 1997).