Tylecodon similis (Zigzag Butterbush)

Scientific Name

Tylecodon similis (Toelken) Toelken

Common Names

Zigzag Butterbush


Cotyledon similis

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Tylecodon


This species is native to Namibia and South Africa (Namaqualand).


Tylecodon similis is a small succulent with a slender, erect, sparingly branched stem that grows from an underground tuber. The stem is straight to zigzag with few side branches, grey with black striations, and up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) tall. The tuber has grey-brown peeling bark and grows up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Leaves are green, often reddish, slightly grooved on the upper surface, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long, and up to 0.3 inches (0.7 cm) wide. Flowers are tubular with a pale yellow, pale green or creamy-white corolla, and fine hairs in the throat. They appear in late summer after the plant loses its leaves.

The specific epithet "similis" derives from a Latin word meaning "similar" and refers to the superficial resemblance of this species to Tylecodon schaeferianus.

How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon similis

Soil: Well-draining soil mix is the key to healthy Tylecodon. Poor drainage and overwatering most commonly cause root rot in both indoor and outdoor plants.

Light: Tylecodons can survive direct sunlight exposure without any problems, but they will grow beautifully when in shadow.

Hardiness: Tylecodon similis can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: As winter is the growing season, Tylecodons require careful watering during the winter until the spring. Get the soil wet and then wait until it is dry before watering again. In the summer, reduce watering to once per month.

Fertilizing: Use liquid fertilizer for cacti and other succulents during the winter months.

Repotting: You do not need to repot these plants often. You can do it when you see that the container becomes too small or shallow.

Propagation: Tylecodons can be cultivated either by seed or by cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon.

Toxicity of Tylecodon similis

Tylecodon species are adapted to avoid animal predation being poisonous. Keep them away from children, pets, and livestock.


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