The ‘teeth’ of the Faucaria tigrina however, are actually soft and harmless, and help to trap moist fog and direct it down to the roots. Fog that comes in from the coast provides a precious source of water for plants surviving in the hot, arid thickets.
The name Faucaria tigrina comes from the Latin words ‘faux’ (jaw) and ‘tigrina’ (tiger) giving it the name ‘Tiger Jaws’ aptly describing the appearance of the toothed, triangular shaped leaves which drip with ‘saliva’ and are held ajar in ferocious poise.
The discovery of Faucaria tigrina goes back to the late 1700s, when Francis Masson, sent to the Cape by King George III, to collect plants for Kew, found the charismatic succulent in 1789.
Continued urban development and over-grazing within its current natural habitat means this plant is classed as Endangered, and is confined to four subpopulations in the wild.