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Tylecodon paniculatus (Butter Tree)


Scientific Name

Tylecodon paniculatus (L.f.) Toelken

Common Names

Butter Tree


Cotyledon paniculata

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Tylecodon


Tylecodon paniculatus is a stocky, caudiciform, arborescent succulent, up to 6.5 feet (2 m) tall, making them the largest of the Tylecodons. The plants conserve energy by photosynthesizing through their "greenish stems" during the hot dry summer months. The yellowish green, papery bark is a very attractive feature of this plant and has given rise to the common name. During the winter, plants are covered with long, obovate, succulent leaves clustered around the apex of the growing tip. The long reddish orange, tubular flowers are borne in upright racemes at the onset of summer in November each year, just as the leaves turn yellow and drop off.

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How to Grow and Care

Tylecodons are not difficult plants to grow. They can easily be cultivated outdoors in warm to temperate, winter rainfall regions where frost are not severe. The dwarf species are better cultivated indoors, containerized and kept in a greenhouse where water and temperatures can be controlled.

Most species are easy to grow in well-drained, sandy, mineral-rich soil. To plant indoors, it is essential to use a container with at least one drainage hole at the bottom.

Tylecodons can survive direct sunlight exposure without any problems, but they will grow beautifully when in shadow. These plants are considered to be extremely tolerant when it comes to high temperatures too.

As winter is the growing season, these plants require careful watering during the winter until the spring. Get the soil completely wet and then wait until the soil is dry before watering again. In the summer, reduce watering to once per month. Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon.


Native to South Africa (Eastern Cape near Steytlerville in the Little Karoo, along the southern and western Cape coastline) and as far north as the Auas Mountains in central Namibia.


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