An onion-shaped, single-bodied, succulent plant, it is possibly the most unusual of all the species of the genus Conophytum. It has a tiny fissure at the top of its body. Its epidermis is smooth, shiny and translucent, and its colour is light green to purple. It is slow-growing and sometimes subdivides through a gradual process over several years, to form two or even three heads. It varies in size and can reach the size of a small onion. Unlike most other Conophytums, it grows in a region of spring and early summer rainfall. However its habitat is extremely arid, and the plant may rely mainly on the copious winter fogs and dew that condenses on the rocks where it grows. When dormant, its outer covering dries into a thin, white, persistent leaf-sheath. It produces a purple flower, in early autumn (April–May in South Africa), with the aroma of honey. The flowers open briefly in the late afternoon, has over 5 sepals and a long stigma (over 10mm).
The Conophytums belonging to the Ophthalmophyllum group are some of the world's most fascinating plants and are sought by the collector of succulent plants. They grow on winter rain and heads for summer dormancy. They are notoriously difficult to grow because they rot very easily. Paying attention to the particular growing requirement of Ophthalmophyllum is especially important. If you provide the Ophthalmophyllum with the right conditions, they will reward you with their unique shape, size, colour and a proliferation of blooms in autumn. However, Ophthalmophyllum are tricky plants that are very particular about their growing conditions and require the right maintenance in order to keep happy. But don't be afraid even the best growers have plants that mysteriously dry up, or leave during the night. While Ophthalmophyllum are picky about their care, if you are patient and remember the basics, your efforts will be rewarded. Being small plants, a representative collection can be grown on a patio table, a sunny windowsill or a shelf in the greenhouse. The growing season in northern hemisphere is from September to March. Soil: It grows best in sandy-gritty soil and requires good drainage as it it is prone to root rot. It can grows outdoor in sunny, dry, rock crevices (protection against winter wet is required) It can also be cultivated in alpine house, in poor, drained soil. Repotting: Repotting every year is not recommended. They may stay in the same pot for many years. Plants grown in larger containers have frequently relatively poor flowers. They might improve when the plants are given their own, small individual pots. Fertilization: Feed it once during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (poor in nitrogen), including all micro nutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. It thrives in poor soils and need a limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases. Watering: The Ophthalmophyllum thrive in dry and desert regions and are able to stand extended periods of drought and require careful watering. Water minimally in summer, (only occasional misting), water more abundantly after the previous year's leaves have dried up when they are growing in the autumn and spring, but let the soil dry between soaking. Requires little water otherwise its epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). If grown in a container, bottom watering by immersing the container is recommended. Ensure a very good ventilation. Light: It enjoy some shade (avoid direct sun as it grows wild among rocks and under the shade of other plants) and in summer it need to be kept in a cool area. Hardiness: It prefer a very bright situation and require a minimum temperature 5°C (But will take a light frost and is hardy down to -7° C for short periods if it is in dry soil). USDA zones 9A – 11.