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Encyclopedia of Succulents

  Ophthalmophyllum triebneri
(Syn: Conophytum triebneri)


Ophthalmophyllum (Conophytum) triebneri (In backlight)

Glass-like, but soft to the touch, strongly windowed  and transparent at the tip. Surface grey-purple brownish-purple tinged bright pink with many dots around border, 
This species is however variable in shape and colour.


Description: Tiny groundcover succulent similar to a Lithops but with shiny big spotted purple-grey eyes. Good clumper.
Bodies (paired leaves):  Up to 20-25 mm large, 8 mm tall (more in cultivation) , soft to the touch, nice, very smooth, glabrous, grey-purple brownish-purple with many aquamarine dots around border, glassy and strongly windowed transparent at the tips.. Surface tinged bright pink. This species is however variable in shape and  colour.
Flowers: Usually pinkish but also reddish mauve or pure white, up to 3 cm in diameter.
Blooming season:
Fruits: 5-6 locular.


Cultivation:  It is relatively easy to grow. These plants grow on winter rain and head for summer dormancy. The growing season in northern hemisphere is from September to March. They require little water; otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars).  Water minimally in summer, (only occasional misting when the plant starts shrivelling), but it will generally grow even in summer if given water.  Water regularly in winter after the previous year's leaves have dried up. Requires good drainage.  It enjoy some shade (avoid direct sun as it grows wild among rocks and under the shade of other plants) and in summer it need to be kept in a cool area.  Hardy to -2C. Ensure a very good ventilation. Avoid to repot frequently. This plant may stay in the same pot for many years. Plants grown in larger containers have frequently relatively poor flowers. It might improve when the plants are given their own, small individual pots.

Comment: Conophytum/Ophtalmophyllum:
These plants forms a group within the large genus Conophytum and for a long time they was considered a separate genus, Ophthalmophyllum. Generally the Ophthalmophyllums look like they are formed from glass, ranging in colour from coke-bottle green to brown, to quite reddish. Some of these plants remain solitary, others clump quite readily; some are touchy in cultivation, some grow easily. They all resemble each other and are easy to recognize as a group. They include species such as C. friedrichiae, C. limpidum, the slightly fuzzy C. pubescens, and the clump forming C. praesectum.

Propagation: It can be reproduced both by cuttings and seeds. Take the cutting from a grown-up mother plant.  Each cutting must contain one or more heads along with a fraction of root.


Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Ophthalmophyllum (Conophytum) friedrichiae.




Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.


Family: Mesebrianthemaceae (Aizoaceae)

Scientific name: Ophthalmophyllum triebneri Schwantes ex H. Jacobsen
In: Succ. Pl. 229 (1935)

Nowadays regarded as: Conophytum friedrichiae (Dinter) Schwantes (1928)

Taxonomy: Subgenus: Derembergia Ophtalmophyllum, Section: OPHTHALMOPHYLLUM

Origin Northern Cape Province, Southern Namibia

Habitat: It grows on quartz slopes and on sheer faces, usually half shaded. Its soil-embedded, subterranean growth form reduces the need for chemical defences against herbivores.


  • Conophytum friedrichiae 'triebneri'  

At growth resumption in autumn they are avid of water and enlarge quickly, but require little water; otherwise their epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly but innocuous scars). Often in cultivation the greater part of the plant  shows this crevices.


In backlighting to show the transparent windowed  body.


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