The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Pig's Ears

Afrikaans name: Varkoorblare

Pig's Ears

Photo © Steven Herbert

Cotyledon orbiculata

This is a very well-known plant that is commonly available at nurseries. It makes an interesting addition to one’s garden. The name Pig's Ears comes from the shape and thickness of the leaves.

The leaves vary in size up to 10 cm in length by 6 cm across. Pig’s Ears grow to a height of around 1 metre, although most of this height is made up from the flower stalks. The flowers, which appear in winter, are pinkish red in colour and are borne on long stalks. The flowers themselves are around 20 to 40 mm in length and hang down.

It is a succulent plant and is very hardy. They can tolerate frost, but it will damage any flowers that were on the plant at the time.

The Pig’s Ears plant has many uses in traditional medicine. It is used to treat boils, earache, toothache and corns.

References and further reading

What Succulent is That? - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1974 - Page: 13

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 116

The Living Deserts of Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Darry Lovegrove - Published: 2021 - Page: 124

Succulent Flora of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Doreen Court - Published: 2010 - Page: 114

Succulent Flora of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Doreen Court - Published: 2010 - Page: 75

Struik Pocket Guides for Southern Africa - Poisonous Plants - Author: Eugene and Glen Moll - Published: 1989 - Page: 15

Sasol First Field Guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: John Manning - Published: 2018 - Page: 33

SA Wild Flower Guide No 1 - Namaqualand and Clanwilliam - Author: A. Le Roux, E. Schelpe and Z. Wahl - Published: 1984 - Page: 86

Indigenous Garden Plants of Southern Africa - Author: Glenice Ebedes - Published: 2017 - Page: 127

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 392

Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: John Manning - Published: 2009 - Page: 238

Guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2009 - Page: 66

Field guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2017 - Page: 256

Field guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2017 - Page: 254

Field guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2017 - Page: 255

Ecoguide - Fynbos - Author: Colin Paterson-Jones and John Manning - Published: 2007 - Page: 71

Cacti and Succulents in Habitat - Author: Ken Preston-Mafham - Published: 1994 - Page: 134

Country Life - Issue 209 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 8

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 54


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