Pleiospilos nelii

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Pleiospilos nelii
Pleiospilos nelii flower.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Aizoaceae
Genus: Pleiospilos
P. nelii
Binomial name
Pleiospilos nelii
  • Pleiospilos pedunculatus L.Bolus (1930)
  • Pleiospilos tricolor N.E.Br. (1930)

Pleiospilos nelii (split rock or splitrock) is a species of flowering plant in the family Aizoaceae, native to South Africa. It typically grows in semi-arid areas at an altitude of 870–1,250 m (2,854–4,101 ft).[citation needed]


The species epithet nelii honours the South African botanist Gert Cornelius Nel. The common name "split rock" refers to the appearance of the plant's leaves.[1]


Pleiospilos nelii is a succulent perennial which can reach a height of 5–8 cm (2–3 in) and a diameter of about 10 cm (4 in). This stemless plant has one or more pairs of opposite, almost hemispherical, grey-green or brownish leaves. The leaves have a deep fissure in the middle and many small dark spots on the surface. A new pair of leaves is produced each year, to replace the older pair, and occasionally two pairs are produced to form a small clump. This plant closely resembles a small cracked rock (hence the common name), which may have evolved as a defence against predators. The daisy-like flowers are yellow-orange, 6–7.5 cm (2–3 in) across, and emerge from the center of the leaves. The flowers are large in relation to the size of the plant. Each flower opens in the afternoon and closes at sunset, for a number of days.[2]


P. nelii is one of several plants cultivated for their rocklike appearance. They are sometimes collectively called mesembs.[3] In temperate regions it is grown under glass for protection from excessive rain and hard freezes. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[4][5]



  1. ^ "Pleiospilos nelii".
  2. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  3. ^ Archived 2014-08-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Pleiospilos nelii ". Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  5. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 80. Retrieved 7 May 2018.


  1. AFPD. 2008. African Flowering Plants Database - Base de Donnees des Plantes a Fleurs D'Afrique.
  2. Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. Welman, E. Reitief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. v. Wyk & A. Nicholas. 1987. List of species of southern African plants. Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Africa 2(1–2): 1–152(pt. 1), 1–270(pt. 2).
  3. Fl. Pl. Africa 47: t.1865B (1983).
  4. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 106: 475 (1986).
  5. Il. Handbook succulent plants: Aizoaceae F-Z : 220 (2001).
  6. Aloe 43[2&3]: 31 (2006).