This intriguing shape belongs to Gasteria rawlinsonii a member of the Asphodelaceae family. It is endemic in the Kouga Mountains of Baviaanskloof. The leaves are distichous, arranged in two opposite rows and tend to persist, become stacked in their regular shape of equal size.
The Afrikaans common name, kransbeestong (rock cattle tongue) aptly describes the shape and position attributes. This is the only Gasteria with a pendulous stem; probably too weak to carry all the retained leaves on mature plants.
On flat ground the chance of hanging down is reduced to merely lying down. In habitat, however, the plants pitched on tall cliffs can do what comes naturally in spectacular fashion from the ledges. The tiny, spaced prickles on the leaf edges can be observed on the Kirstenbosch plant pictured (www.plantzafrica.com).
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