Contrasting cotyledons

Walker, Colin (2024). Contrasting cotyledons. Cactus & Succulent Review(40) pp. 25–33.


Cotyledon is a small, highly diverse and complex genus in the Crassulaceae (Walker, 2022). It is particularly diverse in terms of stem and leaf form and arrangement, for which some is undoubtedly accounted for by natural selection. Here the diversity is considered by illustrating and discussing six different plants ranging from the sprawling, low-growing herbaceous Cotyledon papillaris to the erect and shrubby C. barbeyi that can grow up to 2m tall, while the others are shrubs or shrublets intermediate to this range of growth forms. Of especial interest is the newly-described C. mckayi which has, to my knowledge, yet to appear in cultivation in the UK but is illustrated here growing in habitat in KwaZulu-Natal where it is endemic.

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