This succulent plant has thick leaves which may vary from green to grey, often with a red line around the margin. Cotyledon orbiculata has five varieties, based on differences in leaf and flower shape. The variability of leaf size, shape and colour is also influenced by the immediate environment. Selected forms in cultivation have been given names such as ‘Elk Horns’ or ‘Silver Waves’.
Flowering time is mostly in winter from June-August, but in the winter rainfall areas such as the Western Cape, it is often in midsummer. The colourful, hanging, tubular/bell-shaped flowers are carried in clusters on the ends of an elongated flower stalk. They are mostly orange-red , but yellow flowering forms are also occasionally found (Ernst van Jaarsveld pers. comm.).
Common names: pig’s ear (Eng.); plakkie, platjies, varkoorblare, varkoor, kouterie (Afr.)