Succulent of the Month (Sept. 2007) Cotyledon undulata

A more in-depth look at individual succulent species, a new one is added each week.
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Succulent of the Month (Sept. 2007) Cotyledon undulata

Post by templegatejohn »

Cotyledon undulata Haw.


This extra information was sent to me by our very own Buck Hemingway, after I had written and posted this plant of the month and I put it here for your information. I have seen Cotyledon undulata mentioned in its own right in books, but plant classifications are changing all the time. According to Ernst van Jaarsveld who wrote both "Cotyledon and Tylecodon" and the Cotyledon section in the "Illustrated Handbook of Succulents", this plant's name is a synonym of C. orbiculata var. oblanga. Var. oblanga is found in a widespread swath in eastern South Africa. He does not mention C. undulata separately at all.

Growth Habits: The plant’s beauty is in the grey bloom on the leaves this give the plant the appearance of being dipped in icing sugar. The leaves usually have a wavy edge to them. They grow overlapping one another, and their size depends to a degree on how well the plant is cared for. They are very succulent and fleshy. The plant has a tendency to become leggy and when it does it tends to lose its beauty. Keep taking cuttings is my advice.

Scientific name: Cotyledon undulata

Common names: Silver Crown, Silver Ruffles

Synonym: None known.

Etymology: The word, coyltedon, comes from the Greek Kotyledon, meaning cup-shaped. The specific name undulata means wavy.

Origin: Africa.

This plant needs maximum light (not the same as maximum sunshine) to keep the growth ‘tight’ and stop the plant becoming leggy.

Compost: a good quality compost with a decent amount of nutrient in it is ideal, but don’t forget, the plant still requires good drainage

Water: Careful watering is required to keep the plant looking good. Never water from above as the beautiful bloom will wash off the plant. This is its crowning beauty. If the plant is in a dry atmosphere in the winter a little water every couple of months should suffice. Do not spray the plant.

Flower: Dusky pink pendulous bells. These appear in summer.

Min. temp:
Winter temperature should be about 50°f. (10°c)

Not a difficult plant to grow, but to grow well great care is needed. As said above water will wash the bloom off the plant. Careless fingers will also rub the bloom away. This will never grow back on that particular leaf or leaves. Single leaves will ‘strike’ and cuttings and fairly easy to grow.

I am afraid I am stumped with this. I have been able to find little or nothing about it’s true habitat and Africa is a pretty big place. If anyone has the correct information do not hesitate to let me know.

Comments: I seem to keep saying this, but this is a wonderful plant, once quite common, certainly in British collections, but now seems to be one of those plants that have gone out of fashion and because of that it is quite difficult to get hold of a plant. Cacti and succulent nurseries always cater for demand and if no one is asking for the plant they will not bother to stock it.