Chinese dunce cap (Orostachys spinosa)

Dmitry Poltavsky - Orostachys spinosa

Dmitry Poltavsky - Orostachys spinosa

Chinese dunce cap is a slow-growing, fleshy-leafed succulent in the family Crassulaceae. It is found in arid areas in Mongolia, Russia and China and is remarkably hardy, thriving in temperatures as low as −40 degrees C (−40 F) and able to photosynthesize under a thin layer of snow. When the plant is mature, which takes about five years, it produces the conical flower stalk responsible for its common name and dies afterwards. Orostachys spinosa show amazing symmetry of the rosette, the leaf pattern follows a Fibonacci sequence. Orostachys spinosa is used in Mongolian herbal medicine, and in decorative rock gardens.