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Tylecodon cacalioides (Sulphur Butterbush)


Scientific Name

Tylecodon cacalioides (L.f.) Toelken

Common Names

Sulphur Butterbush


Cotyledon cacalioides, Tylecodon cacaliodes

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Tylecodon


This species is native to South Africa (mainly in the eastern parts of the Little Karoo).


Tylecodon cacalioides, also listed as Tylecodon cacaliodes, is a succulent shrub, up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall, that has a main stem with yellow grey peeling bark and grey-green branches with short phyllopodia. The main stem is up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Branches are up to 7 inches (1.8 cm) in diameter. Leaves are fleshy, grey-green or pale green, cylindrical, slightly grooved on the upper surface, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long, and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) in diameter. They grow in tufts at the ends of the branches, curving upwards. Inflorescences are dense clusters of flowers at the tops of up to 22 inches (55 cm) long stems that grow from the tips of the branches. The flowers are sulfur-yellow, inside with fine hairs, five-lobed, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter. They appear in summer when there are no leaves on the branches.

The specific epithet "cacalioides" means "resembling Cacalia" and derives from "Cacalia" and the Latin "oides," meaning "resembling."

Tylecodon cacalioides (Sulphur Butterbush)

Photo by lequyuanyi

How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon cacalioides

Soil: Well-draining soil mix is the key to healthy Tylecodon. Poor drainage and overwatering most commonly cause root rot in both indoor and outdoor plants.

Light: Tylecodons can survive direct sunlight exposure without any problems, but they will grow beautifully when in shadow.

Hardiness: Tylecodon cacalioides can withstand temperatures as low as 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b.

Watering: As winter is the growing season, Tylecodons require careful watering during the winter until the spring. Get the soil wet and then wait until it is dry before watering again. In the summer, reduce watering to once per month.

Fertilizing: Use liquid fertilizer for cacti and other succulents during the winter months.

Repotting: You do not need to repot these plants often. You can do it when you see that the container becomes too small or shallow.

Propagation: Tylecodons can be cultivated either by seed or by cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon.

Toxicity of Tylecodon cacalioides

Tylecodon species are adapted to avoid animal predation being poisonous. Keep them away from children, pets, and livestock.


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