Tigers Jaw Succulent – Faucaria Tigrina

Have you ever encountered a plant that you have to look at twice to make sure it’s not a wild animal from a land-dwelling not of this planet? Most of these amazing creatures turn out to be succulents, and they appear in all sorts of shapes, hues, and sizes. The majority of the informal names given to succulents usually have something to do with the way they look. From the chubby, oddly shaped leaves to the unusual blooms, succulents dominate the plant world when it comes to being exotic.

Tigers Jaw - Faucaria Tigrina
A young succulent growing in a planter @rachaelsgarden

Beauty With a Bite

Faucaria tigrina is one of those particular succulents that look scary yet adorable at the same time. This stemless succulent has plump, bright green, triangular leaves that grow alternately, forming a star-shaped rosette. The leaves grow in clumps and have sharp, menacing, teeth-like structures that could pass for an underwater predator on the National Geographic channel. These ‘teeth’ are what give this succulent the street names Tiger Jaws or Shark Jaws. There are about ten teeth on every leaf that serves as a defense mechanism. They also help the plant to trap water vapor from the atmosphere, taking it down to the roots of the plant.

The leaves of Tiger Jaws have spaced out, white striations that give it a rough texture. Depending on the intensity of sunlight the plant receives, the leaves can develop a deep purple to pink outline. The plant can grow up to 15 cm (6 inches) tall while the leaves mature to 5 cm (2 inches) long. During early fall and winter, Tiger Jaws bloom sunshine yellow flowers that resemble daisies and are about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. They appear for several months, opening at midday and closing just before the sunsets. This sun-worshiping succulent lets the sun dictate whether it will open its flowers and will generally remain closed on cloudy days.

Be sure to look into more amazing and rare succulents like “Cutest Succulents: Living Stones (Lithops)“. Check it out!

Tiger Jaws – Faucarina Tigrina
Tiger’s Jaw succulent @homelypot

The Back Story

Up to this day, Tiger’s Jaw has been spotted sinking their teeth into rocks and mountain slopes of the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, with a distribution range going from Somerset East to Grahamstown. This succulent was first documented to have been discovered by a gardener’s apprentice named Francis Masson. During the late 1700s, the King of England wanted new plants for the Key Royal Botanical Gardens. Masson boarded Captain James Cook’s vessel on their second voyage exploring the Pacific Banks with instructions to collect plants from the Cape region. He then roamed the ornamented landscapes of the Cederberg’s, Little Karoo and its environs for five years, sorting and documenting over 400 species of plants, with Tiger Jaws appearing in the collection. The succulent was then given the genus Faucaria from the Latin word ‘faux,’ which means jaw and Tigrina, which means tiger.

Faucaria Tigrina has been registered in the Red List of South African Plants as Endangered because there are currently only four remaining subpopulations left in their natural habitat. The greatest extinction threats for this succulent are urban expansion, development, and overgrazing.

Check out “Where Do Most Succulents Come From?” to see exactly where these interesting plants come from.

Tigers Jaw - Faucaria Tigrina
A flowering Tiger’s Jaw succulent @kym.yoga.lotus.den

Keeping Up With Tiger’s Jaw

Bearing in mind that Tiger Jaws is originally from Subtropical climatic regions, they thrive in temperatures between 21°C and 32°C (70°F to 90°F). This succulent can survive higher temperatures if the shade is strategically provided. When the weather is scorching, the succulent stops growing, therefore reducing its water intake. Tiger Jaws health tends to decline when exposed to temperatures under 16°C (60°F) for long periods, and it is advisable to place the plant indoors during the cold months.

Like most succulents, Tiger Jaws are not big fans of water and can go through the summer heat with sporadic moments of thirst quenchers. They will need a drink when the topsoil is completely dry, with the frequency reducing during the cold seasons. They require good draining soil like cactus potting mix, and thanks to their short roots, they can be planted in a shallow container. When encouraging the plant to bloom, it would need at least 3 – 4 hours of direct sunlight during the summer.

Tiger Jaws have a tell-tale sign that they are not doing well. When the leaves of the plant start to lose their color or suddenly wilt, this could be your plant’s way of saying it is drowning. When the leaves begin to turn to mush, your plant is at its death bed. You could remove the soggy ends and dry your plant for two days and try replanting. This succulent propagates from offsets that grow at the bottom of the parent plant. Offsets need a warm and dry place out of direct sunlight for the first month of their growth cycle. Every two to three years, it is recommended that you repot the plant to enable the roots to continue growing.

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Tigers Jaw - Faucaria Tigrina
A close-up view of the Tiger Jaws @plantsbywyatt

With its pretty green, spike-toothed leaves and eye-catching flowers that bloom for months, Tiger’s Jaw make the perfect centerpiece for a rock garden or an arresting statement on a living room table. Let’s repopulate this magnificent species. Get yours today!

Thank you for reading with us today! Be sure to check out related articles to keep your succulent interest going like “5 Succulents You can Grow in a Coffee Mug” or even “Air Plants vs Succulent Plants“.

If you liked this read, you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read. 

Happy Planting! 🌵

Tigers Jaw Succulent – Faucaria Tigrina
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