The contorted remains of last year’s inflorescence forming a prickly lattice over the leaves, are very much in evidence on this Tylecodon reticulatus subsp. reticulatus plant. Some dark brown fruit husks are also still topping some of the dry sticks.
Loose calyces below the husks will whirr around the stalks, telling any passing browser to avoid the plant as it is covered in ants. Misinformation or false marketing thus protects the plant’s leaves to the extent that hunger permits.
The photo was taken at the end of winter near Oudtshoorn, in the heart of the Little Karoo. It shows healthy leaves full of succulence in the growth season; well before the bloomtime that is summer (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; www.llifle.com).