Gasteria (gas-TEER-re-uh)

Asphodeloideae; Tribe: Aloeae

Relatives: Aloe, Haworthia

Gasteria is a genus of succulent plants native to South Africa and the far Southwest corner of Namibia. Named for its stomach-shaped flowers (“gaster” is Latin for ‘stomach’) its common names include ox/cow tongue, Lawyer’s tongue, and occasionally mother-in-law’s tongue. Gasteria are recognizable for their thick, quite hard, succulent tongue-shaped leaves. Their inflorescences (clusters of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches) on some species can grow up to 16” tall.

Closely related to the genera that include Aloe and Haworthia, these species are known to hybridize quite easily with each other. Gasteria species are naturally grown in well-drained, sandy soils in light shade. The species can all be propagated by off-sets and cuttings (leaf cuttings can usually be rooted easily). They are also commonly propagated by seed. Germination usually occurs within 8 days but may take as long as one month depending on the species.