Long tail-like spiky succulent - No spines

by Maria Elena Mercado
(Brooklyn, NY)

This curiously odd, slow-growing plant features long spiky "tails" with no thorns/spines. Each tubular leaf has 6 rows of soft spikes running along its length.

Blooms are first seen as 3/4" eggplant-colored pods that open into a 1" 5-point, star-shaped, thick-leafed, gradiated purple flower with a darker purple center. The bloom remains open for over a week, then closes back into a pod and shrivels up to nothing. My plant flowered for the first time in late winter last year.

Plant sets off shoots directly from the waxy tail-like leaves. These can be placed directly back in the soil to root. I have yet to see one die - They have always rooted easily.

Best suited as a hanging plant but watch for fallen off-shoots - They drop off easily.


Can someone help me identify this succulent?

I brought home a tiny 1" off-shoot from my mother's garden in Puerto Rico. I planted it (rootless) in a loamy soil and placed it in a relatively sunny window. It just took off, has survived three NYC winters (on the window sill), and even flowered. Unfortunately, my mother has none left in her garden. She says the hot tropical sun and constant rain killed them.

Guided by the appearance of the actual plant and the soil, I water it approximately once every 2 weeks during the Summer and once a month during the rest of the year. I do allow the soil to dry completely between waterings.

Hi Maria, thanks for the details of your experience with this plant. These are Huernia, which are also known as 'Carrion Plant' due to the stench of the flowers, which will attract flies to pollinate it. Strange characteristic, I know. You can see more about them here.

Happy Succulent Growing!

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