“I saw her before with her silvery glow, tempting me to bring her home. Not just for the evening, but for much longer, maybe a lifetime. Maybe not mine. For I knew parasites may soon come and take her away… So, I hesitated, then went home without her. She haunted me from far away until I returned and gave in. Now she is here with me, her flesh now loaded with brown scale.”
Pig’s Ear, Round-Leafed Navel-Wort
Cotyledon orbiculata ’Silver Storm’
Synonyms of Cotyledon orbiculata (14) Updated 12-6-20): Cotyledon ambigua Salisb., Cotyledon ausana Dinter, Cotyledon canaliculata Baker, Cotyledon decussata Sims, Cotyledon elata Haw., Cotyledon ergleri Dinter & A.Berger, Cotyledon mucronata Lam., Cotyledon ovata Haw., Cotyledon papillaris Haw., Cotyledon ramosa Haw., Cotyledon ramosissima Mill., Cotyledon ungulata Lam., Sedum decussatum (Sims) Kuntze, Sedum orbiculatum (L.) Kuntze
Cotyledon orbiculata L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Cotyledon. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 16 species in the Cotyledon genus (as of when I am updating this page on 12-6-20). It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae 36 genera. Those numbers could change when updates are made.
Cotyledon orbiculata is native to southern and southwest Africa in Angola, Cape Provinces, and Namibia (in the Karoo region) where they grow in rocky outcrops, grassy shrubland, and grassy slopes. It has been introduced to other countries and is listed as an invasive species in Australia and New Zealand.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading.
I bought my Cotyledon orbiculata ’Silver Storm’ from Wagler’s Greenhouse on June 6, 2017. I had seen them there before but I was reluctant to buy one because they look like a plant that is susceptible to brown scale as with the Crassula ovata (Jade Plant) I had before. The problem is, once I see a plant I am drawn to, whether or not there could issues later, it haunts me to the point where I will eventually return and bring them home.
In the above photo, you can begin to see a few brown specks, possibly brown scale. They did look like the same brown scale that my Crassula ovata (Jade Plant) used to get. I could easily remove them with my fingernail. OH, then there was the Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia called ‘Jitters’ (labeled Crassula ovata undulata ‘Jitters’). It had just a touch when it was given to me by the owner of Pleasant Acres Nursery. After a little while, it was LOADED. I went out to the nursery to investigate hers and they were much worse than mine. SO, I am not a fan of succulents that are prone to scale.
Whatever it is, they appear as bumps first, kind of like under its skin. Then the bumps turn brown. Scale are insects that attach to the outside of the leaf that can be easily removed.
I read where Cotyledon ‘Silver Storm’ was selected to produce better branching. I am not sure how they do that, maybe through selection. Cotyledon orbiculata is known for branching out anyway. One thing is for sure, their flowers are AWESOME! The links below will lead to pages where you can see for yourself.
The Cotyledon genus is summer dormant which means they do most of their growing in the spring and autumn months and are dormant (kind of) during the warmer summer months (supposedly between May-August). Their growth also slows down considerably during the winter and extreme care should be paid attention to watering. They appreciate regular watering during their growing period and very little during the winter. I water my succulents during the summer lightly when I water my other potted plants. I only water them in the winter, lightly, if the leaves start to wrinkle.
According to Wikipedia, the fleshy part of the leaves are used to treat warts and corns. Heated leaves are used as poultices for boils, etc. The leaves of the Cotyledon orbiculata contain a bufanolide called cotyledontoxin which is toxic to animals and cause a condition known as cotyledonosis.
I do believe this plant needs more sun than where I had it. It should be more compact, I think, with more leaves. It is branching out, though, so maybe it would be best if I restart. I will keep an eye out for the “parasite” issue.
OK… We made it through the winter and several months have passed by this summer. This plant had not been in enough light for it to grow properly, but grow it has. I had moved most of the potted plants to the front porch along with most of the succulents. I moved most of the cactus to the back porch along with the Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’. Since I moved this plant to the back porch, the new leaves on the top of the stems are growing like they should. They are not stretching for light. Sooooo……..
On August 6 I decided it was high time I took cuttings to make this plant look better. Now the cuttings need to scab over for a few days before I put them in pots to root.
I put the new cuttings in their own pots on August 11. I gave them a good spraying of Garden Safe 3 in 1 on the 15th to see if it will help with the scale (or whatever it is). I had used this product before with some success. I had used this product before on a Crassula ovata undulata and it helped. Then, after I moved to Missouri, I needed to use it again but had ran out of spray. I went to the local hardware store to see what they had. They had nothing that was OMRI listed and what they did have smelled like alcohol. Well, I bought it anyway against my better judgment and it killed the plant… Live and learn…
By the time the above photo was taken on August 26, the offsets have started rooting and the old plant is growing new leaves. Something tromped on the offset in the right rear pot and broke a few of its leaves off. Darn cats…
We are still having our ups and downs. The issue continues so I posted photos on the Facebook group called Succulent Infatuation to see what members have to say. I kept this plant on the back porch in full sun all summer. I was pretty busy and don’t remember what happened with the cuttings I took last August.
To me, I don’t even think the Cotyledon has brown scale. It is something else. I hate to discard this plant because it wants to survive. Last fall I was tempted to leave it outside, but my conscious wouldn’t allow it. Once it regrew the same issues came back as well.
I hadn’t taken photos of this plant for A LONG TIME because I was wither embarrassed or ashamed. Not sure which… So much for my “green thumb” status. LOL!
Well, time went by and this plant just got worse. I finally had to make the decision to discard it. I do not think I will try another one, especially until I have the proper conditions to grow in brighter light over the winter. I do MUCH better with cactus and succulents that don’t stretch over the winter.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.