The great "Echeveria" mystery solved and evil plans towards the snails

Back in the good old days before covid lockdowns, I used to buy a lot of small succulent cuttings at a nearby flea market. A few years ago I was intrigued by the weird lumpy leaves of this plant and told "It's an Echeveria" but I was never able to identify it. It grows extremely slowly and finally flowered for the first time, which is when I thought: those are Sedum flowers!

sedum allantoides.jpg

For comparison, these are the flowers of Echeveria elegans and most echeveria flowers are similarly bell-shaped and red and yellow in colour.

Echeveria elegans.jpg

Botany generally classifies plants into families according to their flowers so when you see a flower form, you know where to start looking and Google image results become your friend: I found that this is Sedum allantoides Goldii, native to Oaxaca in Mexico. Nice try on the seller's part - at least he got the geographical location right.

S allantoides.jpg

Overall, it's a weird looking plant and mine was looking especially bad because the snails munched on the upper leaves last summer

sedum allantoides goldii.jpg

New growth looks better though:

S allantoides leaves.jpg

It's also odd-looking for a Sedum, and not a common plant to find. Of course it had to be added to my freak collection. It's easy to grow and hopefully we don't get weeks of rain this summer that makes the snail population go crazy. I have been reducing the numbers slowly but surely and apparently, this is the ultimate snail-fighting weapon.

640px-Libanasidus_vittatus01.jpg
Image: Androstachys, Wikipedia

King crickets are universally despised and called Parktown Prawns by locals although I have always liked them. When they aren't eating insects, they like to snack on dog food pellets and live in compost heaps. I'll raid my brother's garden, there aren't any around my place: perhaps it's a little hot and dry here. If they can do away with the local snail population, I'll be grateful and the succulents won't be quite as wrecked. The snails are in fact an edible escargot species but they are an alien invasive species here. I'd prefer the crickets to eat them though.

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