I know, I know, one look at The Pender Post cover photo this month by Diane MacDonald and you immediately chirped, “Oh goodie, Dudleya cymosa!” Perhaps you did not have to be told, but I sure did. Apparently my guess of “some sort of exotic potato sprout” was not correct. Although members of The Pender Post Research Department were polite when I voiced my guess, their lack of eye contact did not go unnoticed. My apologies to the Cymosa family and especially to little Dudleya, known to her school pals as Duddy. For your edification, I did do some personal research and I can reliably report that our cover, Duddy, is neither related to nor named after anyone in the Duddy Kravitz family.
Our cover Duddy and her family are known as succulents. Simply put, succulents are plants that have some parts that appear thicker and fleshier. The reason for the fleshy appearance is that those parts store water. No doubt botanists describe this as the sip n’ save strategy of plant survival. No, I have not actually heard any of my botanist friends use that term, but if they were not so isolated in their ivory towers I bet they would use it. It is very descriptive.
Many succulents live in hot or arid landscapes. Although Pender could not be described as either particularly hot or arid, we still have succulents. In our case Duddy and some of her family members live on cliff faces where moisture is at hand but doesn’t hang around long enough for plants to get a long satisfying swig.
If you want to meet some of the local succulents, I heartily recommend a scientific expedition to Boat Nook on North Pender. Walk down the stairs, hop down to the beach and check out the flora on the cliff face as you look back toward the road. While inspecting our little rock-clinging family you may notice, as I did, that your shoes and jeans are getting wet. Best to leave immediately and return when the tide is out.