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Tylecodon paniculatus (Butter Tree)


Scientific Name

Tylecodon paniculatus (L.f.) Toelken

Common Names

Butter Bush, Butter Tree


Cotyledon paniculata

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Tylecodon


This species is native to South Africa and Namibia.


Tylecodon paniculatus is an erect, robust succulent shrub with a caudiciform trunk, usually well-branched and up to 8.2 feet (2.5 m) tall. It is the largest species in the genus. The main trank is fleshy, up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter, and green with attractive, yellow peeling bark. The young branches are fleshy, brittle with greyish-green bark. Leaves are grass-green and clustered around the apex of the growing tip during the winter. They are elliptic, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. Flowers are tubular, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, orange-yellow to red, and borne in upright racemes in late spring to mid-summer, just as the leaves turn yellow and drop off.

The specific epithet "paniculatus" derives from the Latin "pānicula," meaning "tuft" and refers to the form of the inflorescence.

Tylecodon paniculatus (Butter Tree)

Photo by Cacti

How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon paniculatus

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 paniculatus can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b 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 paniculatus

Tylecodon paniculatus is poisonous to livestock. It is reported to cause krimpsiekte, also known as cotyledonosis or nenta in sheep and goats.


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