They include lithops
, living stones that burst into flower, trailers with spherical, bead-like leaves and tree-sized desert plants.
Some succulent plants from the Cape have also prospered, such as the remarkable little plants of the genus Lithops
, which look just like pebbles (why they went unnoticed for such a long time, until Burchell discovered the first Lithops
In the second chapter, the authors demonstrate the use of a neural network to classify species of the genus Lithops
. A neural network was trained with a representative data set including geometric dimensions, color, and number of fruit cells.
Choices, ranging from Acanthocalycium to Thelocactus and Agave to Vanheerdia, include 30 kinds of lithops
and many unusual crested cactus.
However, on a more serious note be aware that cacti should not be handled by small children unless it is a spineless variety such as Lithops
, which are those curious little plants that look like stones.
Thickened stems specialized for storage of water are common in the Agavaceae, the aloes, Asclepi-adaceae, some members of the Aizoaceae (Lithops
, Nananthus), Apocynaceae (Adenium), and Euphor-biaceae, as well as in the halophilous chenopods of salt deserts.
Lower, cushioned, spiky varieties seemed to belong to a medieval torture chamber while Lithops
were known as living stones because their evolution caused them to mimic in appearance the pebbles found in the desert.