Cotyledon orbiculata:
a painting of a succulent medicinal plant

Cotyledon orbiculata, native medicinal herbs of South Africa 60 x 80 cm (23 x 31 inch) painting in acrylic on board.Cotyledon orbiculata, a succulent medicinal plant native to South Africa. 60 x 80 cm (23 x 31 inch) painting in acrylic on board.

Oct 17, 2020.

Cotyledon orbiculata painting.

Above you can see a painting I'll be putting up for sale in the original and as a print on various items.

To capture the details of the flowers I used a tiny brush with just a few hairs. I used a slightly larger one for the leaves. Acrylic paints dry quickly and I have to work very fast to enhance the soft blending of colors. I work at a larger than life size to get more detail. This is necessary because some of the prints, for example on curtains or bedspreads, will be very large. Working on a large sheet of board, I still had no idea how small I'd need to work, with such a small brush, to get sufficient detail. Flowers are intricate and delicate indeed, with very fine tonal ranges. The painting took me two months.

The plant is toxic to cattle, but helps heal warts and ear infections according to traditional medicinal practice. It is known as imphewula (isiXhosa); ipewula (isiZulu), plakkie, platjies, varkoorblare, varkoor, kouterie (Afr.), pig's ears (English) and last but not least: Cotyledon orbiculata in Latin.

I have known it for decades as a cure for plantar warts and tested it on my husband's feet. It was very effective once, and then not again. Perhaps the wart was ready to die the first time, or a combination with other medications did the trick. Perhaps we didn't use it rigorously enough subsequently. I'd have to retest many times to offer proof, and hopefully we'll not have the occasion to do so ! It is nice being wart free.

Another succulent medicinal plant

It is the second of my paintings based on indigenous South African useful plants. I also did a water color of Aloe arborescens.

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