Although succulents may just be reaching a global notoriety, they’ve been popular for hundreds of years. Long revered in the scientific community for their heartiness and medicinal qualities, succulents have been used for treating burns, air filters and as hallucinogens. The ancestors of the succulent sitting on your desk or windowsill may even have a darker past.
Now, before we get too deep, there are hundreds of species of succulents. The little guy sitting on your counter is (probably) not hiding the cure to the common cold, you don’t need to hide it from small children for fear of them having an out of body experience and it should not be sent to your worst enemy (unless of course you’re trying to bury the hatchet and get a new best friend).
Making their home in harsh, desert like conditions, succulents were first discovered hundreds of years ago and used almost immediately in traditional folk medicine as a natural pain reliever. Today we can find succulent extract in every chemist, corner shop and home in the country. Of course, we’re talking about Aloe Vera! Used to treat sunburns and skin irritation, Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used plant species in the world today. Medical researchers have discovered succulents benefit mental health, increase air quality and may have assistance in treating pre-cancerous skin conditions.
The versatility of succulents shows in its range of historical uses - from health to torture they have had an impact through the ages. While not all succulents are harmful to humans, and certainly none of the succulents sitting in your home, its good awareness to know some are. Spines and needles are the most dangerous parts of succulents, touching these will cause a sharp pain, bleeding or a burning rash. Succulents have been used to punish the guilty, torture prisoners and used to extract information. Today, the only torture succulents cause is the stress that comes with choosing your favourite.
Todays’ popularity of succulents makes a lot of sense. People are busier than ever, but low maintenance succulents won’t mind if you’re forgetful when it comes to watering. After all, they come from the desert. Natural lighting can be difficult to find without a corner office, but many succulents can thrive in almost any light condition. All of us are different, that’s where the variety succulents provide comes in handy, there’s something for everyone! Money is important. Why spend your hard-earned cash on a bouquet of flowers that droop and die within a week when you can have a lasting source of pleasure? Not everyone has a 4-bedroom, 2 bath house and that’s okay! Succulents are efficient and space savvy. With urban areas outgrowing rural population, concrete replacing bush and plastic taking over, what better way to embrace our roots than having a plant that will thrive in the city.
A range of colours, hard to kill and plastic free - succulents are here to stay. Literally. And I love them!