Crassula alpestris subsp. alpestris grows in the sandy soil of some mountainous regions of the Karoo. Mainly associated with the Koue Bokkeveld and Tanqua Karoo, the plant is also found on the Gifberg south of Van Rhynsdorp and the Rooiberg south west of Oudtshoorn. And maybe many other secluded and remote spots in this general area.
This species is hidden away from suitable farming land; a fortunate survival choice. Summer temperatures of 50˚C may occur in the exposed shallow sandy patches among rocks where the plants are naturally found. In winter there may be snow, inflicting cold to -5˚C.
Add severe drought to the trials and tribulations offered by the habitat and some respect for the survivors of this land can be expected. The plant grows slowly in its harsh climate, reaching ages from 3 to 5 years; short compared to some other crassulas.
People have rightly taken note of this pretty and plucky little plant, giving rise to several local names, like berg-crassula (mountain crassula), slangstertplakkie (little snake-tail slab, but why?) and alpine stonecrop (Van Jaarsveld, et al, 2006; www.plantzafrica.com; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; Manning and Goldblatt, 1997).