genus Cotyledon comes from the Greek word "kotyle"
which means cavity. Species name "barbeyi" was given after
William Barbey (1842-1914), a Swiss philanthropist and botanist.
Cotyledon barbeyi is a robust, much branched, perennial,
succulent herb that grows to a height of 1-2m. Its leaves are mostly
basal, fleshy and vary from broadly ovate to lanceolate and even
linear. Leaves can be smooth or covered with glandular hairs. This
plant has pendulous red tubular flowers with a satiny sheen. The
flower tube always bulges between the calyx lobes. This is the main
character that distinguishes this plant from Cotyledon orbiculata.
Flowering occurs between March and September.
is naturally distributed in woodland and scrub in the Northern province
and Mpumalanga in bushveld and rocky outcrops. It also extends beyond
the low-lying regions of the former Transvaal into Natal and Swaziland.
Cotyledon barbeyi is common in these areas and it has been
found in some eastern parts of Africa to Ethiopia.
Growing Cotyledon barbeyi
barbeyi can be cultivated from both cuttings and seed. It can
take a couple of years to flower from seed; therefore, cuttings
remain an alternative way to produce well-established plants. Cuttings
can be planted in washed river sand and there is no need to use
root stimulating hormone powder. Rooted cuttings should be planted
in the planting bags to grow a bit before transplanting in the garden.
Plants can be drastically pruned after flowering in order to promote
Wind, bees and birds are the main pollinators. The seed is extremely
fine and is carried away by wind and rainwater. Cotyledon barbeyi
is very attractive and suitable for frost-free gardens. It is also
a good plant for low maintenance and waterwise gardening as it can
withstand a long period of drought. At the Witwatersrand National
Botanical Garden they can be found growing in the succulent section
of the garden often flowering from May to July.
This plant has been reported to be toxic to livestock.
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden