“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’
Cotyledon orbiculata L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Cotyledon. It was named and first described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
According to Plants of the World Online, there are 13 accepted species in the Cotyledon genus. The 2013 version of The Plant List said there were 12 accepted species plus 4 accepted infraspecific names, a total of 73 synonyms and 92 were unresolved. Although The Plant List is now unmaintained, I still refer to it for certain information even though it may be out of date.
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.
I bought my Cotyledon ’Silver Storm’ from Wagler’s Greenhouse on June 6, 2017. I had seen them there before but I was reluctant to buy 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.
There isn’t a whole heck of a lot online about this cultivar. Well, I guess that depends on what you are looking for. I wanted information about the cultivar such as what species it is or if it is a hybrid. If it is a hybrid, what species or cultivars were used in its creation. Finally, I did find a few websites that said Crassula orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ so I decided this cultivar must be a cultivar of Cotyledon orbiculata. Upon further research of that species, I have to agree for now.
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 the 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, maybe spray with neem oil and see what happens.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you.
FOR FURTHER READING:
Plants of the World Online
Llifle (Encyclopedia of Life)