23 September 2018

Faucaria Tigrina – In the Greenhouse, No One Can Hear You Scream

They say that life imitates art but perhaps in this case it is the other way around. This is Faucaria tigrina or the Tiger’s Jaw – a succulent plant found in South Africa.

Yet caught at the right angle the plant does not resemble so much the jaw of a tiger as that of an altogether alien creature, featured in a number of movies starring Sigourney Weaver et al.

The thick, green triangular leaves have up to 10 pointed curved teeth along the edges making them look like open jaws.  It does not take much of a leap of the imagination to see that there is a certain similarity to the alien. The leaves even form rosettes so you can cultivate a terrifying set of alien creatures in your own home.

The plants are freely available to buy online but do take some care in spring and summer when they need feeding every two weeks.  Other than that they are fairly easy to grow and can be placed in a shallow pot on a windowsill rather than a greenhouse. Depending on where you live they can be placed outdoors in warmer months but will not survive the winter outside. Over feeding can also turn them to mush so it is best to read up and look after them carefully.

They flower too – once they reach the age of three or four. The flowers are a pleasing yellow color but nothing quite like the spectacularly visual metaphor of the leaves. They are very much cultivated for the leaves which, whether you compare them to a tiger or to the alien, nothing short of fascinating.

Careful, though. In the greenhouse, no one can hear you scream.

First Image Credit Wikimedia