Herbs [or shrubs], perennial, not viviparous, 2.5-3.5 dm, glabrous or papillose. Stems erect, branched or unbranched, succulent; floral stems annual, axillary, overtopping rosette, with scattered smaller leaves. Leaves persistent, in dense, basal rosettes, alternate, sessile, subclasping [narrowed] basally; blade cuneate- or rhombic-oblanceolate or -obovate, laminar or semiterete, 2-10 cm, succulent, base not spurred, margins entire; with  several veins entering margins. Inflorescences lateral, flat or paniculate cymes. Pedicels present. Flowers (fetid), erect, 5-8-merous; sepals distinct, ± alike in size; petals spreading or slightly reflexed from middle, connate basally, [mostly] pale yellow irregularly dotted and red-banded in distal 1/2; calyx and corolla not circumscissile in fruit; nectaries flabellate; stamens [as many] 2 times as many as sepals; filaments adnate to corolla base, (becoming reflexed); pistils erect, connate basally; ovary base narrowed; styles 2+ times shorter than ovaries. Fruits mostly erect. Seeds narrowly ovoid, finely grooved, papillose. x = 30-35. From cytological studies (C. H. Uhl 1970, 1992), Graptopetalum belongs to a large comparium with Echeveria, Lenophyllum, Villadia, and others, but not including Dudleya.
PLANT: Glabrous or papillose perennials. LEAVES: alternate, entire, in ours subclasping, in dense basal rosettes. FLORAL STEMS: lateral, overtopping rosettes, annual, with scattered smaller leaves; cymes flat or paniculate, of 2-several one-sided branches. FLOWERS: 5-8-merous, musky; sepals subequal, nearly separate, erect; petals imbricate in bud, united below, widespreading or slightly reflexed from near middle, pale yellow irregularly dotted and cross-banded with dark red; stamens twice as many as sepals in ours, on corolla base, reflexed after shedding of pollen; pistils erect, narrowed at base. FOLLICLES: many seeded. SEEDS: narrowly ovoid, reddish-brown, striate. X = 30-35. NOTES: 13 spp. AZ to Oax., Mex. (Greek Graptos = marked with writing + petalon = petal). REFERENCES: Moran, Reid. 1994. Bixaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 27, 190-194.