Crassula lactea (Taylor's Parches) - Low trailing succulent 8 to 12 inches tall by 2 feet wide with obovate mid-green leaves that have a tapering tip and a wide base that clasps the stem. The younger leaves are marked along the margins of the upper surface by evenly spaced small white dots and older leaves wither away to expose the 1/2 inch wide intricately-branched bare stems. Clusters of flowers, which appear in winter on 2 to 4 inch long stems rising above the foliage, are white and starlike. The flowers last several weeks on the plant and some people claim they have a slightly pleasant fragrance. Plant in full sun (except in hottest inland gardens) to considerable shade and water regularly to occasionally in summer - some list to keep dry in winter but this plant does well for us in Santa Barbara receiving winter rainfall. Hardy to around 10°F It is a great plant for the shade garden or in full sun and is useful for trailing over a wall or a container edge. This plant comes from rocky terrain in summer rainfall area of S.E. Cape of South Africa, Natal and Transvaal. The specific epithet 'lactea' Latin for "milky" alludes to either the white flowers or the white dots on the leaf margins, which are a salt crust left as the hydathode glands secrete water at these points. The common name Taylor's Parch may be an adaptation to Taylor's Patch as the name is listed in Gordon Rowley's "Crassula a Grower's Guide". Another common name sometimes listed is Krysna Crassula. In Liberty Hyde Bailey's "The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture" (1928) it is noted that this plant was first described in Curtis Botanical Magazine in 1771 and introduced into cultivation by Scottish botanist and Kew Gardens' plant hunter, Francis Masson, in 1774. Our thanks to John Bleck for sharing this plant with us.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Crassula lactea.

Crassula lactea