Lithops project blog

Lithops project blog


This is the blog page of the Lithops Project, in which we investigate the extent and evolution of locally optimized camouflage coloration in the enigmatic African "stone plants" belonging the genus Lithops.

In the first part of the project, we use hyperspectral and multispectral camera equipment for making detailed comparisons of the visual properties of Lithops species and the soil on which they grow across numerous locations in southern Africa.

We set out for our second month-long field expedition on June 27, 2018. As on the 2016 expedition, we aim to post updates every 2-3 days.

Our imaging expeditions are supported by National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe. Hyperspectral camera equipment is provided by Specim Spectral Imaging Ltd. and the Surface Optics Corporation.

For more information on our project, check out

Drought problems

Expedition blog 2016Posted by Tommi Nyman Wed, April 20, 2016 11:44PM
We decided to stop in Springbok for the night, mainly for having our second shower of the expedition. We got one Lithops marmorata population processed in the morning, despite challenging light conditions - both of our camera systems require long exposure times, so windy and half cloudy is almost the worst possible weather for us. The search at the next site failed miserably, but we saw a lot of other interesting plants!

Our difficulties with finding good Lithops populations in northern Namaqualand are partly caused by low rainfall in the last months, which means that the autumn is late and the plants have not yet started flowering. In addition, the plants that we do find are often crumpled (like the Lithops marmorata below), and we also find the dry remains of dead Lithops plants. Although Lithops are decidedly adapted to dry conditions, at many sites they seem to be at their limit at the moment.

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