Tylecodon  are  found  within  the   crassulacea  family. The genus of around   46 species, is  very diverse in habitat and quite variable in form, ranging from dwarf single leaved to large thick-stemmed, wich can attain a height of 2,5 mts.
The distribution of Tylecodon is  , restricted to  the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa and Sourhern Namibia. The most typical vegetation type in which Tylecodon  species are  found is Succulent Karoo. The  plants  occur quite  abundantly in   habitats  that vary from  the rocky  coastal  shores ; rock crevices  in  mountainous  terrain  and  in  sandy  hilly  terrain. In  very  hot,  dry environements, plants are usually confined to the cooler south facing slopes.

tylecodon bayeritylecodon racemosus flower tylecodon sp habitat
tylecodon bayeri
tylecodon racemosus flower
tylecodon sp

Tylecodon exhibit  great  variation in  adaptive strategies  for  coping with  a dry environement. In succulent plants, water is stored in fleshy roots, stems or leaves. Some species occurs on sheer precipices, well out of reach of game and browsing stock. There  are a few geophytic  species of Tylecodon  that protect  themselves from  desiccation  in the dry season hidden unerground, and  also  protecting the from hervivores.

tylecodon bodleyae in habitat
tylecodon bodleyae

Apart   from   their     water   storage   ability, Tylecodon  species   are also adapted to avoid animal   predation   being   poisonous,     with cardiotoxic     and   cumulatively    neurotoxic Bufadienolides, and must be kept  away  from animals.   Krimpsiekte  (' shrinking   disease,' cotyledonosis) is   an  economically  important disease  of  livestock  caused by  consumption of Tylecodons, Cotyledons and related plants. Some  Tylecodons are  grubbed  out by  South African  farmers to  protect livestock and  are therefore endangered in their habitat.

tylecodon sp in habitat
tylecodon sp

Their deciduous succulent leaves arranged in a spiral   manner,   are   produced   during   the winter.  As   this  is  the growing   season,  the plants  require   careful   watering  during  the winter  until the Spring  when  water should be withdrawn.  Flowers  are  produced  after  the leaves  have  dried and  fallen, during  the dry summer   months,   though   in  cultivation  the leaves may  persist for longer if the plants are watered.

tylecodon hirtifolia flower
tylecodon hirtifolia flower

Seeds, are very  small, light-weight and  wind-dispersed. The  seed  is  very  fine  and  light brown  in  colour.  The  seed  takes  about   4 months   to   mature.   The   easiest   way   of harvesting seed is to cut the branched fruiting bodies in late  March (autumn  in the southern the hemisphere). Allow  the   capsules to open in  a closed  paper  bag. This  will ensure  the seed is not lost through wind or other means.
Tylecodon are not difficult plants to grow and are realatively free of diseases and pests. They can easily be cultivated outdoors in warm to  temperate,  winter  rainfall  regions  where frost   are  not   severe. The   dwarf   species, however,  are   better    cultivated   indoors, containerised and kept in a greenhouse where water   and   temperatures can be controlled. Plants are best cultivated in a well-drained,  sandy,  mineral-rich  soil. Water  them sparingly  in  winter and less  to almost nothing in summer. Propagation is easy and can be done from seed, steem cuttings or division.

tylecodon reticulatustylecodon paniculatus tylecodon wallichi x paniculatus
tylecodon reticulatus
tylecodon paniculatus
tylecodon wallichi x paniculatus
tylecodon sulphureustylecodon ellephiae tylecodon pygmaeus
tylecodon sulphureus
tylecodon ellephiae
tylecodon pygmaeus

Sow the seed in a seed box. DO NOT cover the seeds. Simply sow the seeds in a coarse sand topping, with a well-drained substrate underneath. Water with a fine mister or a fogger once a week during winter and once a month in summer. The seeds will germinate readily during the cooler period of the year. After about two years, the young plants will be about 2 - 3 cm in height and can be pricked out and planted in bags. Always ensure that plants are grown in a well-drained medium. To grow from cuttings , the best time for taking cuttings is autumn. Select cutting material at least 3 cm in diameter, dust with sulphur, kept for about two weks to callus, and then place cuttings in clean sand and use bottom heat if the winters are very cold. Keep cuttings moist until well rooted, cuttings usually take about one year to form a strong root system, when these cuttings can be transplanted into permanent containers, in well-drained soil.