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Native Australian Succulents: Complete Guide

By definition, succulents are plants that can withstand very dry conditions because they hold water in their leaves and stems.

Although succulents cover a wide range of plants from various parts of the world, there are actually a comparatively small number of succulents that are native to Australia.

By definition, succulents are plants that can withstand very dry conditions because they hold water in their leaves and stems.

Here are a variety of succulent plants that are native to Australia.

Carpobrotus rossii (Australian pig face)

Pigface Carpobrotus rossii | Plant varieties

Probably the most recognised Australian succulent is the pink flowering pigface. This plant is commonly found growing naturally around the southern coastal areas of the country.

It’s a hardy groundcover with thick, succulent finger-like leaves and thin woody stems. When in bloom, this succulent really shines with its very bright pink daisy like flowers.

As a bonus, the leaves of this plant are edible and the sap from the leaves is helpful for taking the sting out of insect bites. 

Disphyma crassifolium (Pig face)

Disphyma crassifolium | Plant varieties

This is another native pig face species that also has bright pink flowers. This is also a groundcover and very useful for stabilising soil, especially in coastal areas. 

Like the other variety of native pig face, this plant is also edible.

Portulaca cyclophylla

This interesting-looking succulent is native to Western Australia and is mainly found in the north arid regions.

It’s a spreading plant that has green to brown disc-like succulent leaves and the prettiest buttercup yellow flowers.

Dischidia nummularia

Dischidia nummularia | Plant varieties

This epiphytic succulent can be found growing on trunks of trees in Australia and also other parts of the world such as China, India, Thailand and Indonesia. You’ll mostly find it in rainforest areas along the top of the Queensland coast.

Plants of this species that are in cultivation are commonly known as ‘String of Nickels’ but it can also be referred to as ‘Button Orchid’. It’s commonly grown as an indoor plant in many parts of the world.

This is due to the small disc-shaped leaves that grow along long and pendulent stems. The flowers on this succulent are quite small and white or pale yellow in colour.

Dockrillia linguiformis (Tongue orchid)

Dockrillia linguiformis 1 | Plant varieties

This native Australian orchid can mainly be found along the east coast from southern NSW to northern Queensland. It’s an epiphytic and lithophytic species which means it grows on trees as well as on rocks.

Of all the native Australian orchids, this is one of the easiest to grow in cultivation. The spidery flowers are quite stunning in creamy white to yellow. 

Be aware that this succulent does not like growing in pots but will grow quite happily when attached to a tree or to a cork slab. This plant was formerly known as Dendrobium linguiforme.

Peperomia blanda var. Floribunda

Peperomia blanda var. Floribunda | Plant varieties
Peperomia blanda var. Floribunda / Photo by David Eickhoff / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Peperomia succulents are widespread around the world but this particular species is native to Australia. It’s mainly found in rainforests and gullies in Queensland and especially around Toowoomba.

This plant has fairly upright stem and tiny succulent leaves. It produces long green inforescenses at the tips of the stems. As a succulent, this plant is drought-hardy and perfect for shady spots in the garden.

Sarcocornia blackiana (Samphire)

Sarcocornia blackiana | Plant varieties
Sarcocornia blackiana / Photo by Miguel de Salas / inaturalist / CC BY-SA 4.0

This unusual succulent is mainly found in salt marshes in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and in small pockets of Victoria. 

It produces erect finger-like succulent stems that are partially segmented. These stems are commonly green in colour but can also be red or orange. 

The plant forms a spreading mound and can flower for most of the year. However, the flowers are tiny and white and somewhat insignificant.

Tecticornia verrucosa

This strange succulent is found naturally in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It grows mainly in coastal flats and sandy soils that are slightly saline. 

In the past, the seeds of this plant were used by indigenous people to grind into flour and then turn into bread.  

The plant has quite an unusual appearance as it produces upright knobbly finger-like stems with purple bulbous tops. Depending on where the plant is growing, the stems can be either bright green or dark purple.

If you want to learn more about Australian succulent plants, look out for a book written by Attila Kapitany titled “Australian Succulent Plants: An Introduction”. It can be found in the National Library of Australia and you might be able to find a second-hand copy online.

FAQ

Are there any native Australian cacti?

No, there are no cacti that are native to Australia. All cacti that grow around the country are introduced species and some are regarded as invasive such as the prickly pear.

Is sedum native to Australia?

No, sedum is not native to Australia despite the fact that certain species have become naturlised and are now regarded as invasive weeds.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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