Most people call it serpentine (SER-penteen) or serpentine rock, but serpentine is the set of minerals that make up serpentinite (ser-PENT-inite). It gets its name from its resemblance to snakeskin, with a mottled color, waxy or resinous luster and curving, polished surfaces. Serpentinite is a sexy rock.
Serpentinite is low in plant nutrients and high in toxic metals. Thus the vegetation on the so-called serpentine landscape is dramatically different from other plant communities, and serpentine barrens contain many specialized, endemic species.
A big close-up picture of serpentinite is available as a free wallpaper image.