Our plant of the month is Cotyledon ‘orbiculata’ and its name comes from the Latin word for ’round’. However, it’s common English name is ‘Pig’s Ear’.

Cotyledon orbiculata is a member of the crassulaceae family.

The genus Cotyledon comprises ten species of low-growing succulents, emerging from short stems.

Found growing wild in South and East Africa and on the Arabian peninsula, they grow in the desert or in rare patches of shade.

The meaty leaves are produced in pairs on oppsite sides of the stem. Flowers, which are bell-shaped or cylindrical, are produced on top of stems growing up from the leaf bed and are red, yellow or orange in colour, hanging down from the stem.

Flowers appear towards the end of summer or at the beginning of autumn. The name ‘cotyledon’ comes from the Greek word for ‘cup-like’.

Cotyledon Orbiculata – Pig’s Ear

Cotyledon orbiculata is a succulent. Its leaves are green or grey with sometimes a red edging. It is found in the wild in Angola, Namibia and South Africa. The plant reaches a height of 100cm with 50cm or so width. The ‘orbiculata’ in its name comes from the Latin word for ’round’.

As stated above the plant flowers at the end of summer or in early autumn. The flower stems rise to 70cm on which bell-shaped flowers 1.5 – 2cm in length are produced. The flowers are red and orange, although there are some varieties which have yellow flowers. The flowers die at the first suspicion of frost although the plant itself will survive.

The flowers of this plant attract bees and birds. As with many other succulents, in times of drought to retain as much moisture as possible in the plant, a powder like substance appears on the leaves. This can give the plant an attractive greyish cast.

This plant is well known for its medicinal uses in South Africa.

The leaves are used to soften warts and corns and eventually remove them.

A poultice may be made from warmed leaves which is used to treat abcesses. And it is said that eating a single leave lowers the count of parasites in the bowel.

Warmed leaves made into a paste are also used to treat toothache and earache.

In landscaping Cotyledon orbiculata always grabs attention when planted in containers on a terrace or verandah.

It can also be used in mixed beds amongst other perennials of similar height. If planting in containers ensure there is good drainage. In general it should be placed in full sun.

However, it will also grow in part shade under trees.

As it needs so little water it is an ideal plant for dry gardens.

It can be propagated from seed but grows much more quickly from stem cuttings.

It is pretty resistant to disease but is a favoured plant of snails.

The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz

For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.

It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.

Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.

Just ring or email (English is spoken):

E-mail: : palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr

Tel : +90 252 262 28 92

Fax : +90 252 262 51 61

Website : http://www.palmiyemerkezi.com