Tylecodon opelii van Jaarsv. & S.A.Hammer
This species is endemic to fields of broken quartz in northern Knersvlakte in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
Tylecodon opelii is a dwarf geophyte with pale grey-brown, somewhat flaking tuber and usually solitary (rarely up to 3) dark green to nearly black, almost glabrous leaves with just a few fine hairs. The tuber is oblong, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter. Leaves are thick, fleshy, marble- to club-shaped, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, nearly equal in diameter, with both surfaces slightly shining. The lower surface of the leaves is flushed beet red. Flowers are cylindrical to slightly funnel-shaped, marron green, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, and appear in summer when the plant sheds its leaves.
The specific epithet "opelii (oh-PEL-ee-eye)" honors Dr. Matt Opel, a botanist from UConn who discovered this species.
How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon opelii
Light: This succulent can survive direct sunlight exposure without problems, but it will grow beautifully in partial shade.
Soil: A well-draining soil mix is a key to healthy T. opelii. Poor drainage and overwatering most commonly cause root rot in both indoor and outdoor plants. Indoors, it is essential to use pots with at least one drainage hole at the bottom.
Hardiness: Like all Tylecodons, this succulent is highly tolerant when it comes to high temperatures and also tolerant of cold, frost-free conditions during the winter. T. opelii can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
Watering: As a winter grower, T. opelii requires careful watering during winter and spring. Get the soil wet, and then wait until it is dry before watering again. In summer, reduce watering to once per month.
Fertilizing: Use liquid fertilizer for cacti and other succulents during winter.
Repotting: You do not need to repot this plant often. You can do it when you see that the container becomes too small or shallow.
Propagation: Since it is a plant with a solitary growth habit, T. opelii can be propagated only from seeds. Sow the seeds in fall and winter.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon.
Toxicity of Tylecodon opelii
T. opelii is adapted to avoid animal predation being poisonous. Therefore, keep it away from children, pets, and livestock.
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