Cotyledon orbiculata

Synonyms:

Cotyledon ambigua
Cotyledon ausana
Cotyledon canaliculata
Cotyledon decussata
Cotyledon decussata
Cotyledon elata
Cotyledon engleri
Cotyledon mucronata
Cotyledon orbiculata f. dinteri
Cotyledon orbiculata var. ausana
Cotyledon orbiculata var. higginsiae
Cotyledon orbiculata var. oophylla
Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata
Cotyledon ovata
Cotyledon papillaris
Cotyledon ramosa
Cotyledon ramosissima
Cotyledon tricuspidata
Cotyledon ungulata
Sedum decussatum
Sedum orbiculatum

Habitat:

Cotyledon orbiculata is indigenous to the expansive arid territory located in the southwest region of South Africa known as the Karoo region. It has become a well-liked and broadly cultivated plant in many countries across the globe. In certain subtropical regions such as Australia and New Zealand, it has even naturalized and become invasive. This plant’s habitat is typically found in the wild growing in rocky or sandy outcrops within rugged landscapes. It prefers grassy areas with low-lying vegetation, often located on sloping terrain.

Description:

Cotyledon orbiculata is a tough little evergreen plant that looks like a shrub and has brittle stems. It can grow up to 50-120 cm tall and 80-150 cm wide, and it’s often very bushy. This succulent has been around for a long time, dating back to 1690 when Mr. Bentick introduced it. People love it for the beautiful glaucous color of its leaves and its large flowers that stick around for a while.

This plant is pretty complicated, not just because it comes in so many different variations, but also because many of its different forms have been officially described. There are several varieties and forms of Cotyledon orbiculata, and they mostly differ in the shape of their foliage.

The leaves, stems, and flowers of this plant have a waxy coating that makes them look shiny. The stem can either stand straight up or lay down, and it can get up to 1.5 meters long and 2 cm in diameter. The leaves are opposite each other, and they can be pretty different in shape. They’re fleshy and can grow up to 13 by 7 cm. The leaves are usually green, grey-green, grey-white, or blue-grey, and they have a powdery coating that helps protect them from the sun and hold onto water. But, be careful not to touch them too much, or you’ll damage their coating. The margins of the leaves are reddish.

The flowers are clustered together at the end of a sturdy, tall stalk that can grow up to 45-60 cm long. They usually hang down and are less than 3 cm long. The flowers are shaped like a bell or a tube and have a cylindrical corolla with recurved lobes. The outside of the flower can be pink, orange, or reddish, while the inside is a pretty rose red color. But, there are also yellow varieties. The smell of the flowers is quite strong and has been described as similar to rotting beef or fungi. These flowers are mostly pollinated by honeybees, so they need them to stick around.

Cotyledon orbiculata blooms in the winter, which is pretty cool. The seeds of this plant are super tiny, weighing only about 0.01 mg each. They’re so small that they can be carried by the wind like dust particles without any special equipment to help them float. This plant makes a ton of seeds, but they’re all pretty small. That’s because this plant is found in arid areas and needs to make a lot of seeds to ensure that at least a few of them will land in a good spot to grow. These tiny seeds don’t have any other parts to help them move around in the wind, but that’s okay because the wind does most of the work for them. A lot of desert plants have tiny seeds like these, so they don’t get eaten up by animals. The seeds of Cotyledon orbiculata are carried by the wind to cracks and furrows in the soil, where they get covered by more soil and can start growing.

Cultivation:

If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow plant, you might want to check out Cotyledon orbiculata. This plant is pretty adaptable to different growing conditions and can produce leaves in varying colors, shapes, and lengths.

If you’re planning to grow it yourself, make sure to use sandy-gritty soil that drains well because this plant is susceptible to root rot. You’ll also want to fertilize it with a cactus and succulent-specific fertilizer during the growing season, but make sure it’s low in nitrogen. Water it regularly, but don’t overwater it or let it sit in water because it likes dry conditions.

When it comes to sun exposure, Cotyledon orbiculata can tolerate full sun or partial shade, but it flowers best in full sun. It can develop a blue-grey color in harsh sunlight conditions, but be careful not to expose it to too much sunlight too quickly or it could get sunburned.

This plant is hardy down to -5° C for short periods, but you’ll want to protect it from frost. And just a heads up, Cotyledon orbiculata is toxic to humans and animals, so be careful when handling it.

Propagation:

Cotyledon orbiculata can be propagated easily by several methods. One common way is through stem cuttings, which can be taken from a mature plant and allowed to dry for a few days before planting in well-draining soil. Another method is to plant individual leaves in sandy soil and allow them to take root. Members of the Crassulaceae family, to which Cotyledon orbiculata belongs, often propagate vegetatively in this way. Seed propagation is also possible, but it can take longer to produce mature plants. Whatever the method, it’s important to ensure that the soil is well-draining and that the plant is not overwatered, as this can lead to root rot.

Curiosity:

Cotyledon orbiculata is commonly known as “Pig’s Ear” or “Round-leafed navel-wort” due to its thick, round, succulent leaves that resemble the shape of a pig’s ear.
The leaves of Cotyledon orbiculata are often used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as headaches, toothaches, and insect bites. The plant is also popular among gardeners as it is easy to grow and care for, making it a great addition to any succulent collection.

Official Web Site:
www.giromagi.com

Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com

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