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

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

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

Wild Flowers of Table Mountain - Author: WPU Jackson - Published: 1977 - Page: 36

The Gardener - 2021/01 - Author: - Published: 2021 - Page: 14

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

What Flower is That? Autumn and Winter - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1969 - Page: 50

The Gardener - 2013/02 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 18

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

SA Wild Flower Guide No 7 - West Coast - Author: J. Manning & P. Goldblatt - Published: 1996 - Page: 110

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

SA Wild Flower Guide No 6 - Karoo - Author: David Shearing & Katryn van Heerden - Published: 1997 - Page: 72

SA Wild Flower Guide No 3 - Cape Peninsula - Author: Mary Maytham Kidd - Published: 1982 - Page: 32

SA Wild Flower Guide No 5 - Stellenbosch to Hermanus - 2nd edition - Author: Anne Bean & Amida Johns - Published: 2005 - Page: 184

SA Wild Flower Guide No 2 - Outeniqua, Tsitsikamma and Eastern Little Karoo - Author: Audrey Moriarty - Published: 1982 - Page: 108

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

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

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

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 392

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

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

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

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

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

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

Common Wild Flowers of Table Mountain & Silvermine - Author: Hugh Clarke, Bruce Mackenzie & Corinne Merry - Published: 2013 - Page: 62


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