Imagine a plant trying to hide from being eaten in the brown desert. What options do you have, anyway, if you depend on green chlorophyll for your livelihood? God gave lithops an ingenious answer. This tiny desert plant of South Africa looks like a rock.
SPRING: The old leaves are sucked dry just in time for spring rains.
SUMMER: Lithops are dormant, using little or no water.
FALL: After seasonal rains, a flower appears.
WINTER: New growth continues, drawing water from the old leaves.
Like the rocks around them, these “living stones” are colored gray, brown, rust, pink, and mottled green. Even experts have to look twice to see them. The rock shape is possible by joining two thick leaves tightly together to resemble flat, split stones. This design has the added benefit of holding water inside the plant in harsh deserts where as little as 1 inch (25 mm) of rain falls each year.
You might think the plant needs more green for photosynthesis. Actually, the rocklike pattern is translucent, letting light pass into the interior of the plant, where photosynthesis takes place. So the same design that protects the plant enables it to hold moisture and get energy.
Who would ever imagine a plant could look like a rock? Our Creator delights us at every turn with His infinite ingenuity.