|Cheiridopsis pillansii |
McMillan Greenhouse, UNC Charlotte, 2010
In the photo above, you can see that each "heart" is composed of two lobes that appear fused (though they're not). Each lobe is a chubby, fluid-filled leaf! The leaves are attached to very short stems, so short you can't see any evidence of them here. As a bud begins to enlarge down inside the heart, the leaves separate at the cleft, and new leaves or flowers burst forth. C. pillansii in bloom (photo).
Cheiridopsis is now in the Aizoaceae family, but is still often grouped with Mesembs (Mesembryanthemaceae). For inspiration -- either for your xeriscape garden or for a spectacular trip -- check out this photo: The Namaqualand desert blooming with Mesembs (Cheiridopsis is hardy to around 21F degrees.)
Succulent lovers might like to check out this detailed article with all sorts of particulars about the many genera of Mesembs: Mastering the Art of Growing Mesembs