Cotyledon Orbiculata

Cotyledon orbiculata is a wide spread South African succulent that is grown all over the world. This is an attractive and easy to grow plant worthy of a spot in every garden. Naturally they can be found growing amongst rocky outcrops in the grasslands, Karoo and also fynbos biomes.

The leaves are variable and range from bright green to grey – usually paddle shaped but some varieties have narrow, even spiny shapes. The flowers are produced at the ends of slender stems and are pretty bell shaped blooms in warm shades of pink to orange. These flowers attract many insects, butterflies and of course the sun birds – they just love the sweet nectar produced.

Medicinally this plant is said to treat earache, remove warts, act as a vurmifuge (dewormer) and even an epilepsy treatment! ( I would check with my Doctor on that one though).

The common name for this plant is ‘pigs ears’ because of the shape of the leaves. In Afrikaans it is referred to as ‘plakkies’ – meaning ‘flip flops’.

These Cotyledons sporting lovely shades of coral were growing happily in a protected spot between the rocks on the mountain. They were perfect models for my coffee mug paintings. I added a Greater collared sun bird. These little birds really love the sweet nectar and could not get enough of it. They paid very little attention to me as they flitted about enjoying their feasting.

7 thoughts on “Cotyledon Orbiculata

  1. I have some growing outside my kitchen door and just this week they have been visited daily by male and female Greater Double-collared Sunbirds – marvellous to spot them through the door while I am preparing lunch! This painting is a beautiful depiction of both plant and bird!

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  2. You really have the most amazing talent, Carol – your painting had me excited that I’ve actually recognized the plant too – “Plakkie!” immediately jumped into my head – and not only the bird!

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      1. Actually I discovered when doing my most recent post that I do have a Cotyledon in the garden – most likely an orbiculata even though it looks different to the ones in the guide books, but I have read that they are incredibly variable in the shape and colour of the leaves. I got it as a cutting from a friend some years back and it is has been very slow to establish and is yet to flower. But it seems to be settling in now and is water wise as you say.

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