The Stubborn Aeonium arboreum is a Survivor


 If the plants in my garden were in the TV show Survivor, the Aeonium arboreum "Tree Leek" would be one of the winners. When Linda...

 If the plants in my garden were in the TV show Survivor, the Aeonium arboreum "Tree Leek" would be one of the winners. When Linda and I were repairing the fence last summer, we stepped on and knocked against this plant, which responded by shedding its injured branches. The plant thrived, as did the shed branches. Break a branch, stomp it into the ground and it grows.

The plant is a native to the Canary Islands and was introduced to Europe after 1492. It grows in arid climates of the southern Mediterranean and a damp spot in my yard. Like other succulents and cacti, it uses a form of photosynthesis called Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). In typical photosynthesis, the plants "breathe" during the day through openings in the leaves called stoma. The plants lose water during the process. 

The stoma of plants using CAM photosynthesis are closed during the day. A water saving strategy. During the night, the stoma open up and store carbon dioxide as malic acid for use during the day. The leaves of a plant using CAM are actually more acidic in the morning than in the afternoon.

Our stubborn Aeonium, for all the abuse it has received, is actually a beautiful plant. 

After the rain

This California Spring it produced a beautiful inflorescence:

A story of survival.


  1. how cool. I've been seeing the yellow flowering bulbs on my walks in Los Feliz and didn't know what they were!

    - Meg



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At Home and Away: The Stubborn Aeonium arboreum is a Survivor
The Stubborn Aeonium arboreum is a Survivor
At Home and Away
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