Can You Identify These Succulents from an Image?

SCIENCE

19 PLAYS

Jacqueline Samaroo

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you can tell the difference between the zebra plant and snake plant? What about aloe vera and the spiral aloe? Then grab your gardening tools and get ready!

A succulent is any plant that has thick fleshy leaves and/or stems in which it stores water. Therefore, succulents can endure extended periods of drought (as most well known in desert cacti.) However, this also leads succulents to be susceptible to overwatering when kept indoors as houseplants. Plants of this category come in a multitude of unique shapes, colors, and sizes, which is part of what makes them such a beloved category of plants!

Because they don't need to be watered often and are generally striking and unusual in appearance, succulents are undoubtedly very popular choices as houseplants. If you're away from home a lot or are simply forgetful, then a succulent houseplant is definitely the way to go! Succulents aren't limited only to being houseplants, though. They're widely distributed in the wild all around the world, and most survive best in dry areas such as deserts, semi-deserts, and steppes.

All cacti are succulents by definition but they're sometimes excluded from the category due to having a feature unique to them - areoles (small round nodules all around the plant that spines or prickles may grow out of). For the sake of completeness, however, we've included cacti in this list!

If you're a confident botany buff then, without further ado, let's get on with the quiz!

Which succulent is shown in this image?

This succulent is both a houseplant and a popular ingredient in medicine and cosmetics. Despite there not being much solid scientific evidence of aloe vera’s healing properties, extracts of this succulent can be found as ingredients in many products such lotions, hair products, ointments, beverages, ​and yogurts. Aloe vera is native to the Arabian Peninsula but is now cultivated all around the world.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Crassula ovata isn’t just any old plant. It has won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit! Also known as the “lucky tree” or “money tree,” this succulent has attractive white or pale pink flowers and grows well in rocky gardens and containers. Jade plants are very popular for bonsai beginners because they already resemble miniature trees without much trimming!

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

This leaves of this succulent are very unique and distinctive, being very thick and gray or gray-green, as well as having almost rectangular cross-sections. The upper parts of the leaves appear to have been sliced off (or truncated), which is why it is given the specific epithet “truncata.” Horse’s teeth usually grow in the shade of bushes and underground, which makes for great protection against herbivores.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Another common name for the fishbone cactus is “zig zag cactus” and it is endemic to Mexico as epiphytes in evergreen forests. It has sweet-smelling white or pale-yellow flowers that bloom at night in late autumn or early winter, and is often grown as a decorative plant. Its fruit is also quite unique; it resembles kiwi and tastes like gooseberries!

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

This small cactus native to Mexico is well-known for being psychedelic, as it contains the psychoactive alkaloid mescaline. The name “peyote” is a Spanish loanword derived from the Aztec “peyōtl” which roughly means “glistening.” It is quite likely that Native Americans had used L. williamsii and its psychedelic properties for spiritual purposes since around 3700 BC!

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Cereus jamacaru – as with all other plants of the Cereus genus – is a nocturnal bloomer; its flowers bloom around dusk and wither by dawn. Mandacaru (also known as “cardeiro”) is often used as animal feed, whether it be from the thorn-less variety or after the thorns are removed. This cactus is native to northeastern Brazil and is naturalized in East Africa where – in some places – it has become invasive.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Known as the “tiger tooth aloe” because of its inward-facing spines resembling a tiger’s mouth and its intimidating appearance, Aloe juvenna is native to Kenya. The tiger tooth aloe grows in tight clumps of tiny rosettes whose leaves are bright green mottled with creamy-white spots. When left outside in the summer, however, the leaves become a reddish-gold color. It’s natural and not a sign of bad health, though.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Also called the “Mexican gem” and “white Mexican rose,” this evergreen succulent is best adapted to subtropical and tropical climates, as it cannot handle temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit​. However, it can be grown in temperature regions under glass and with heat. Echeveria elegans is another recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

H. gaertneri earns its name of “Easter cactus” because it typically blooms around the time of the holiday. The Easter cactus is widely cultivated as a decorative plant because of its brightly-colored flowers that form from the areoles at the ends of its stems. It is also known as the “Whitsun cactus” and shares the nickname of “holiday cactus” with Schlumbergera – the Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The golden barrel cactus is also known by the names “golden ball” and, quite humorously, “mother-in-law’s cushion” or “mother-in-law’s seat” (imagine someone wishing their mother-in-law would sit on this spiky cactus!) Echinocactus grusonii is endemic to Mexico and became endangered after the construction of the Zimapán Dam in the 1990s.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Haworthia fasciata is quite a small plant, usually only growing to about 10cm in height! It is commonly called the zebra plant because of the white horizontal markings on its leaves. Haworthia fasciata is native to South Africa and actually quite rare in comparison to its relative Haworthia attenuata, but is nonetheless a well-loved houseplant!

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Hylocereus undatus, a.k.a. the “white-fleshed pitahaya” or “strawberry pear,” is a species of sprawling or vining cactus cultivated both as an ornamental vine and for its fruit – the popular and mysterious dragon fruit. Dragon fruit is commonly found throughout the tropics, though its exact origin is a mystery and it may even be a hybrid of some sorts.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

This tree-like aloe grows on a thick stem and can grow to heights of 3 meters! Aloe ferox occurs naturally across South Africa’s southern cape and is thus known alternately as the “Cape aloe.” Its leaves grow arranged in rosettes (a common characteristic of other aloes) and are blue-green with rosy tips and spines (which contributes to its other common name of “red aloe.”)

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Fouquieria splendens is often mistaken as a cactus because of its spiny stems, rather than a dead-looking appearance and desert habitat. However, a closer inspection reveals that they’re not! Ocotillo is indigenous to deserts of southwestern United States and is also known as “desert coral,” “slimwood,” “candlewood,” “vine cactus,” and “flaming sword.”

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Also called the “file-leafed Haworthia,” Haworthia limifolia grows in rosettes of pointy triangular leaves. There are many variations of the fairy washboard, some with leaves that are bright yellow or cream with dark green striations. Fairy washboards are quite small, usually only growing between 7cm and 13cm in height.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Malabar spinach is native to tropical Asia and has been naturalized in countries such as China, Brazil, the West Indies, and tropical Africa. Basella aIba is known by many other spinach-related names, such as “creeping spinach,” “vine spinach,” “Ceylon spinach,” and “Buffalo spinach,” and is fittingly used as an ingredient in the cuisine of many Asian countries.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

These pretty flowering cacti native to South America are also well-known as “chin cactus.” There is a popular variation known as the “Hibotan” or “ruby ball” that is characterized by its non-green body caused by the lack (or even absence) of chlorophyll. These cacti can be one of many colors, including red, dark purple, orange, and white, but must be grafted onto a cactus with normal chlorophyll in order to survive past the seedling stage.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Quite fittingly named “queen of the night,” this succulent blooms infrequently and nocturnally, and its flowers close before dawn. Several other species of Epiphyllum (as well as all species of Cereus) also only bloom at night and often share the title of “queen of the night.” Epiphyllum oxypetalum is also called “Dutchman’s pipe cactus,” perhaps because of the curved stalks on which its flowers grow.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Aloe arborescens is a sprawling tree-like (it’s specific epithet, “arborescens,” means “tree-like”) succulent usually found in mountainous and rocky areas. The krantz aloe has one of the largest distributions of aloes and is endemic to four countries of Southern Africa. Its common name comes from the Arfikaans word “krantz,” meaning “a rocky cliff.”

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Characterized by its amazingly symmetrical and regular pattern of spiraling leaves arranged in five ranks, the spiral aloe (also known as the many-leaved aloe) is probably one the most fascinating succulents around! It’s no surprise that it’s a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. The spiral rosette can grow up to 30cm tall and 60cm wide and can either be clockwise or counterclockwise.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Impatiens walleriana is popularly known as “busy Lizzie” in the UK (because it blooms practically throughout the year) and “patient Lucy” in the U.S., along with “balsam” or “sultana” elsewhere. Busy Lizzie is very popular as a houseplant because of its brightly-colored flowers that cover much of its foliage, and some hybrids have even been bred to have multicolored leaves.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

With a cute name and cute appearance, it’s no surprise that the bunny ears cactus is a popular choice of decorative cactus. Opuntia micordasys is spineless but has densely packed and neatly spaced areoles on its pads, and bears large attractive yellow flowers on the pads’ outer edges. Other common names for this cactus include “polka-dot cactus” and “angel’s-wings.”

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

With its short height and rosette arrangement of tiny and very fleshy leaves, Cooper’s Haworthia is easily one of the cutest succulents around. The leaves of Haworthia cooperi have transparent streaks near their tips, and some varieties have completely transparent leaf tips.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Did you know that Rhipsalis baccifera is the only cactus that occurs naturally outside of the Americas? The mistletoe cactus finds its origins in Central America, South America, Florida, and the Caribbean and is believed to have either been introduced to Afro-Eurasia long ago by migratory birds, or later by European trading ships traveling between South America and Africa.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

This aloe grows in rather small (usually not more than 10cm wide) rosettes of triangular leaves whose spines are soft and harmless. The short-leaved aloe forms an attractive small colony of rosettes. Notable for its bluish-green or bluish-gray color that looks rosy and golden in full sunlight, Aloe brevifolia is sometimes called the “blue aloe” and “crocodile plant.”

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The rose grape is an epiphyte native to the Philippines and is also known as the “Philippine orchid” (despite not being an orchid), “showy medinilla” and “pink lantern.” Because it doesn’t tolerate temperatures lower than 59 degrees Fahrenheit very well, this succulent can usually only be grown in temperate zones with all-year-round protection, but it can survive short-term temperature drops as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit​!

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

These cacti definitely look different from most of their desert relatives! Schlumbergera is a genus of cacti alternately known as the “Thanksgiving cactus” or “Christmas cactus” in the Northern Hemisphere in reference to their flowering seasons. In southern Brazil, which is where the holiday cactus only occurs, it is known as the “May flower” which is around the time it flowers in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

With its weighty aerial tubers and fleshy leaves, Anredera cordifolis is quite the heavy vine. This succulent is native to South America but can widely be found in other parts of the world, such as Central America, southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and eastern Africa (the last of which it has actually become invasive in.) The Madeira vine is also known by the names “mignonette vine” and “lamb’s tails.”

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

This flowering plant is probably one of the most unique succulents around; its large tuberous stems resemble elephants’ feet or – when densely packed together as a single base – a tortoise shell. This succulent is very slow-growing but its base can reach a circumference of 3 meters! Due to its high starch content, it was given the name “Hottenhot bread” by the Dutch settlers of South Africa, to which it is native to.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Hatiora salicornioides’ most common names are “dancing bones cactus” and “drunkard’s dream” due to the stems resembling segmented bones or bottles, respectively. This cactus is originally a forest cactus and is native to southeastern Brazil’s tropical forests. Drunkard’s dream can grow either erect or arching and has very small orange-yellow flowers.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

​D. villosa is often promoted as a medicine for various things such as cancer prevention, alleviation of menopause symptoms and treatment of whooping cough. However, large and frequent doses of its extract have been known to cause damage to the kidney and liver and is considered by many to be hazardous for a plethora of other reason!s However, it is commonly used in Russian herbal medicine.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The window Haworthia grow in clumps of rosettes of light green leaves - similarly to its relative Cooper’s Haworthia – that look like big green roses. Also like Cooper’s Haworthia, H. cymbiformis's usually have transparent streaks near the tips of their leaves. “Cymbiformis” means boat-shaped and refers to the plant’s boat-shaped leaves.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Native to tropical areas of the Americas, the Barbados gooseberry is also known by the names “rose cactus,” “blade-apple cactus,” and “lemonvine.” P. aculeata are quite distinct from other cacti, as it has long stems and bright green leaves! It is, in fact,​ a cactus, however, because of its areoles from which spines grow – a defining trait of cacti.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Zamioculcas is a great air purifier and removes many unsafe compounds from the air, which is one of the reasons it’s one of the most popular houseplants for offices and homes. On the contrary, Zamioculcas was once thought by some to be extremely toxic, though this has been disproved. Zanzibar gem is sometimes called the “Zuzu plant,” “ZZ plant,” or “emerald palm."

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Spider aloe’s other common names are “dwarf hedgehog aloe” due to its many prickles/bumps and “blue dwarf aloe” due to its bluish-green leaves. The leaves have a waxy surface and form stemless, very tightly-packed rosettes. Aloe humilis blooms are rather large compared to its size, with its flower spikes growing roughly a foot tall!

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The origin of the sweet prickly pear is uncertain but is widely believed to have originated in Mexico. In fact, the Mexican coat of arms shows an eagle perched on the cactus! Opuntia ficus-indica is also referred to in English as the “cactus pear,” “Barbary fig,” and “Indian fig.” In Spanish,​ it’s common names are “nopal” (for the plant) and “tuna” (for the fruit.)

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

Rex begonias – also called “painted-leaf begonias” and “fancy-leaf begonias” are very attractive succulents due to their strikingly shaped leaves and stunning coloration. They can be a bit high-maintenance, though, and require a quite precise amount of humidity and water. The painted-leaf begonia grows on a short leaf stalk from an underground rhizome.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The snake plant is also called “devil’s tongue” and, amusingly, “Mother-in-Law’s tongue.” This herb with long, thick and mottled leaves is easily one of the most well-known and recognizable succulents. S. trifasciata has air-purifying qualities and, historically, the hemp it yields was used to make bowstrings – though nowadays it is usually just kept as an ornamental plant.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The San Pedro cactus is widely used in traditional medicine, as well as historically in religious divination in the Andes Mountains for more than 3,000 years. This columnar cactus contains a psychedelic alkaline known as mescaline (just like the cactus Peyote) and, though it is legal to cultivate it as an ornamental plant, it is illegal in some countries to consume it.

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Which succulent is shown in this image?

The garden balsam is native to southern Asia in countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and India, and is commonly known by the names “rose balsam,” “garden jewelweed” and “touch-me-not.” The last of its​ names comes from the fact that it undergoes explosive dehiscence (a form of seed dispersal wherein the ripe fruit’s seeds are flung far away from the plant) when touched!

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