Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata

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Botanical Name
Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata
Crassulaceae - The crassula family.
kot-ee-LEE-don or-bic-yew-LAY-tuh
Common Name(s)
English: Pig's ear
Plakkie; Varkoor; Honde-oor
IsiXhosa: iphewula; isundu
IsiZulu: Intelezi; Ipewula
Sesotho: Serelile
Plant Group
  • Ground Cover A plant with a low-growing, spreading habit, grown specifically to cover the ground.
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Medium to Large
    Tree15m to 20m
    Shrub2m to 3m
    Perennial/ground cover60cm to 75cm
    Bulb60cm to 1m
    Succulent60cm to 1m
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Small to Medium
    Tree8m to 15m
    Shrub75cm to 1m
    Perennial/ground cover20cm to 40cm
    Bulb30cm to 40cm
    Succulent20cm to 40cm
  • Dry Shade Shady areas where soil has poor water retention or are dependent on rain for their moisture needs.
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Sand tolerant Plants adapted to survive in nutrient poor, very sandy soils.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata consists of a closely related group of succulent plants with thick leaves, in various colours, shapes and forms. Leaf colours vary from green to grey, often with a red line around the margin. Leaf shapes vary from narrowly oblong to almost round. The plants vary in shape from ground covering mats, to large clumps and small to medium shrubs. This cotyledon lends its texture, size, shape and colour to many garden situations.

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pendulous, tubular blooms in loose heads on a long stem

  • Winter Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • orange-red
Growth Rate
  • Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Border A strip of ground, at the edge of a driveway or path in which ornamental plants or shrubs are planted.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Edging A low growing plant that provides softness or definition to the edges of a bed or walkway.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Foliage Plant Plants grown because their foliage is colorful or unique. Many of these plants have insignificant flowers.
  • Ground Cover Low-lying plants that spread fast, require minimal maintenance, and cover large expanses or bare areas between bulbs or shrubs. They provide protection from erosion and drought and improve the visual appearance of the garden.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
  • Stabilize Banks Plant is used to prevent soil erosion because their roots will form a mat that stabilizes the soil and keeps it from washing away in heavy rains.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Suitable for seaside gardens Plants that will survive the hostile environment of harsh salty winds, dry sandy soil, irregular rainfall and heat found in seaside gardens.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, North West and Namibia, usually in rocky outcrops in grassland,  fynbos and karoo regions

Planting Suggestions

Plant in well-drained soil with a little compost if needed. Mulch lightly to retain water in dry areas but don't over-water as rot will set in. If grown in too much shade and moisture, the plant will lose its compact shape and become straggly.

Medicinal Uses

The fleshy part of the leaf is used to soften and remove corns and warts. The heated leaf is used as a poultice for boils and the warmed juice for earache and toothache. A single leaf can be eaten as a vermifuge (internal worms) and it has been reported that the juice can be used to treat epilepsy. There are reports of some leaves being poisonous to stock.

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