Brianhuntleya purpureostyla is a beautiful, low-growing plant that requires minimal care once established.

Scientific Name

Brianhuntleya purpureostyla (L.Bolus) H.E.K.Hartmann

Common Name(s)

Breede Tiptoothfig


Acrodon purpureostylus, Cerochlamys purpureostyla, Erepsia purpureostyla, Mesembryanthemum purpureostylum, Ruschia purpureostyla

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Brianhuntleya


Brianhuntleya purpureostyla is native to South Africa. It grows on dry gravel loams, often stony slopes or flats on shale from Robertson to Potberg in the Western Cape province.


Brianhuntleya purpureostyla, formerly known as Acrodon purpureostylus, is a small succulent that forms compact clumps of creeping stems with erect, gray-green leaves with sparsely toothed margins and keel. Initially fleshy, the stems become woody towards the base as they age, reaching up to 0.3 inches (0.7 cm) in diameter. The stem internodes are purplish when young, turning shiny orange as they mature. The leaves are very fleshy, triangular in cross-section, grow in matched pairs, and can measure up to 2.6 inches (6.5 cm) long, 0.35 inches (0.9 cm) wide, and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) thick. They become reddish when exposed to intense sunlight.

In late summer and fall, the plant produces solitary flowers on pedicels that can reach up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in length. The flowers are up to 1.2 inches (30 cm) in diameter and have pale pink to white petals with a central pink stripe. The fruits are 5-locular capsules and contain dark brown seeds with distinct knobs.


The specific epithet «purpureostyla (pur-PUR-ee-oh-STY-luh)» means «purple stem» and possibly refers to the color of the flower stalks or internodes.

Brianhuntleya purpureostyla (Breede Tiptoothfig) aka Acrodon purpureostylus
In habitat, Swellendam Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa. Derivative of a photo by Jannie Groenewald. Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

How to Grow and Care for Brianhuntleya purpureostyla

Light: Brianhuntleya purpureostyla requires bright light but not too much direct sunlight. So, a windowsill that receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon will be a perfect spot for indoor growing.

Soil: The plant thrives in porous soil, allowing the water to drain away quickly. Therefore, use commercial soil for succulents or make your own well-draining mix.

Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem as long as there is plenty of fresh air, but this plant is not cold-hardy. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).

Watering: To keep your Brianhuntleya purpureostyla healthy, it is most important to know when, how much, and how often to water it. During the dormant period, usually in winter, the plant requires little or no water. From spring to fall, water it thoroughly but allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Fertilizing: As long as you repot this plant every two years, it does not need fertilizer.

Repotting: Even if it can stay happy in the same pot for years, once in a while, you can repot your plant to give it more space anytime during the growing season. However, the best time is at the beginning of the growing season.

Propagation: One way to propagate this plant is by dividing clumps, which is quite simple. Another option is to start from seeds by sowing them in well-draining soil during spring. The best time for dividing is late spring or early summer.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.

Toxicity of Brianhuntleya purpureostyla

Brianhuntleya purpureostyla is considered non-toxic and safe around kids and pets.


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