Succulent Plants -Explanation of Classification

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Succulent Plant Families
Explanation of Classification
It doesn't take long for the succulent grower to discover that the classification for many species is far from settled. As various taxonomists continue to learn more about these plants and combine new and old data with their own beliefs about the plants relationships, existing names are either combined (lumped) or further divided (split). This can be especially confusing for the beginner as most people assume that living things have all been neatly categorized and labeled for years with only the occasional new discovery.

On the other hand, those who have more experience with this are often inclined to adhere to the name(s) they learned at first. Even taxonomists working with the same data do not always agree and some plants may be grouped differently by each of them at the same time. This situation poses a challenge for creating a website such as If we encounter conflicting classification, which system should we follow? Additionally, there are no publications that cover the scope of plant families that we are attempting to include herein and so it is more than a matter of choosing a single taxonomic system to follow, but a medley of systems must be considered which may even overlap.

The best defense we have is to include as many nomenclatural synonyms as we can. Therefore, if someone using this website is searching for a particular name, but does not find it on the left hand navigation, an alphabetical list of synonyms is included here: This list is organized by genus and then species. Clicking on any name in this list will bring the user to the details for that plant under the name that is listed on this site by default. For example: Orbea gigantea will bring the user to Stapelia gigantea.

The primary objective of this site is to include images and other info for identification of a given plant. As such, we do not intend that the names used here be considered statement on classification. We make no claims that the listings are better as found here as opposed to any other source. As stated, various works have been used to compile the list here and these are chosen as much for convenience as for anything else.

That being said, we welcome feedback on the site. Especially as there will certainly be mistakes made given the scope of this project. If you notice any such errors, please let us know!

-Daiv Freeman & John Balcom
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