Tylecodon paniculatus, the Butter tree, is a stocky, caudiciform, an arborescent succulent. The various Tylecodon species are endemic mainly to the dry western areas of South Africa and Namibia. It is a member of the Iridaceae family. The plant appears to have wide tolerance of growing habitats, growing in weathered rock in the north to coastal sands in the south. The plants can reach heights of 2 meters making them the largest of the Tylecodons. The genus Tylecodon is an anagram of the original genus Cotyledon. Tylecodon paniculatus makes a wonderful pot plant.
Tylecodon paniculatus is summer deciduous. The plants conserve energy by photosynthesizing through their "greenish stems" during the hot dry summer months. The yellowish green, papery bark is a very attractive feature of this plant and has given rise to the common name. During the winter, plants are covered with long, obovate, succulent leaves clustered around the apex of the growing tip. The shrub is reported to have a surprisingly weak and shallow root system for its size. In nature the plants tend to grow in groups, making a spectacular show when they flower. The long reddish orange, tubular flowers are borne in upright racemes.
Hardiness zone 9-11, (-5øC/25øF, 4øC/40øF). They are striking feature plants, ideal subjects for sunny and dry courtyards. Water with a fine mister or a fogger once a week during winter and once a month in summer. Prefers sandy areas.