Construction began on this area in 1982. Thousands of cubic metres of soil fill was used to mound the area incorporating inclines, flat areas and broad slopes. Large boulders were installed to form rocky outcrops and the scree slope area. Planting began in 1983 and was completed in 1986.
The Succulent Collection features Aloe, Agave, Euphorbia, Mesembryanthemum, Crassula, Euphorbia, Yucca, Sedum, Kalanchoe and Echeveria species, many mature specimens when planted. One of the more spectacular specimens is the Dracaena draco Dragon Blood Tree. The red resin exudes from the bark after wounding. The medicinal and colouring properties of this resin, and that from other dragon trees, was recorded by the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome. It continues to be used in medicine, dyes, varnish and incense to this day.
Many succulents grow in semi-arid or temperate regions which receive intermittent rainfall each year. Succulents thrive in poor shallow soils and have shallow root systems allowing them to utilise water from small amounts of rainfall. Succulents have unique morphological (function) and physiological (form) adaptations to cope with drought and defend themselves
against enemies. Most retain water in their leaves, stems or roots. Many protect themselves with spines or thorns whilst some have waxy or woody protective coverings to reflect sunlight and decrease water loss.
The best time to view this collection is in June and July. This is the time when the Agave and Aloe send their flower spikes towering into the sky. In spring the carpet of mesembryanthemum flowers beneath the Dragon Blood Trees also provide a spectacular display.