These tiny succulents are under siege from international crime rings

Demand for ornamental plants is ravaging South Africa’s rare desert flora—and fueling a nonstop duel between poachers and police.

Poachers in South Africa raid farmers’ lands for Conophytum, rare succulents coveted by ornamental plant collectors. Confiscated conos, such as these Conophytum comptonii, are kept in secure greenhouses rather than replanted in the wild.

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