Description: Gibbaeum album is dwarf, compactm scarcely branched
clump-forming succulent with greyish-white united leaf-pairs. Growing ,
always above ground. The 4 to 15 leaf-pais, develops mainly towards the
outer edge hence pressed laterally to the soil, the interior of old
plants is occupied by persisting old capsules and old leaves remnants.
Leaves: Up to 2.5 cm tall,
isophyllous, 2 paired, unequal, asymmetric, (of which one more long)
developed into a prominent, slightly triangular and oblique keeled chin,
mostly melted in each other, with a chalky white to greyish-white
metallic colour, but not shining, because the leaf surface is folded by
short, branched interlocking hairs.
Flowers: Daisy-like, white, pink to dark violet up to 30 mm long,
pedicel 5-15 mm. The petals gradually inter-grade into white-pinkish
Blooming season: Summer and long lasting.
Remarks: The leaves
of this plant are very similar to those of Argyroderma congregatum
and Antimima dualis.
Notes: Various species of the genus Gibbaeum
are called in Afrikaans, ‘Haaibekkie’. In English this means ‘beak of
a shark’. This very apt name is derived from the shape of the two
leaves that together form the plant growth. They differ in size and
because these leaves grow closely together the fissure of most species
looks exactly like the beak of a shark, though without the teeth of
course. Gibbaeum album itself has also a South-African name,
Bababoutjie, which means baby’s bottom.