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Tylecodon fragilis


Scientific Name

Tylecodon fragilis (R.A.Dyer) Toelken


Cotyledon fragilis

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Tylecodon


This species is native to South Africa (Northern Cape and Western Cape).


Tylecodon fragilis is a small succulent with few ascending branches that grow from a small tuberous base. The tuber is irregularly shaped, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, with grey peeling bark. Branches are brittle, smooth, and with pale brown flaking bark. They grow up to 14 inches (35 cm) long and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) in diameter. Leaves are fleshy, glabrous, green to pale brown, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and cylindrical to slightly grooved on the upper surface. Flowers are tubular, up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) long, yellowish-green, and appear on erect, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long thyrses in summer after the plant loses its leaves.

The specific epithet "fragilis" means "brittle or easily broken" and refers to the branches that are easily broken. It derives from the Latin verb "frango," meaning "break or shatter" and the latin suffix "-ilis."

How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon fragilis

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 fragilis 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 fragilis

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


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