Native to the semi-desert Little Karoo region of South Africa, this succulent, evergreen. perennial shrub is a member of the stonecrop family, Crassulaceae, that also includes sedum, jade plant, and hens and chickens. The plants grow up to 28″ tall, are freely branched and have chunky, green, ovate leaves that are up to 1.5″ long. The branches and leaves are covered with dense woolly hair and the leaves have 3-8 reddish teeth at the end. In spring, clusters of large orange, bell-shaped flowers appear. Bear’s paw is easy to grow and does well in a rock garden, container, and as a houseplant. Plants are poisonous to livestock, dogs, and humans The genus name, Cotyledon, is from the Greek word  κοτυληδών (kotulēdōn) and means cup-shaped cavity. The specific epithet, tormentosa, is the Latin word meaning hairy and refers to the woolly hairs on stems and leaves.

Type: Succulent evergreen perennial shrub

Outstanding Feature: Leaves, flowers

Form: Irregular to rounded

Growth Rate: Rapid to slow

Bloom: Bell-shaped orange flowers in summer

Size: 12-20″ H x 24″ W

Light: Bright, indirect light

Soil: Sandy, very well-drained. pH 6

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Care: Apply dilute all purpose fertilizer twice monthly during the growing season; allow to dry out between waterings

Pests and Diseases: Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale

Propagation: Stem or leaf cuttings (leaves very difficult), seed

Outstanding Selection: None available

Photo Credit: John Rusk Wikipedia

By Karen