Cyphostemma juttae



The Cyphostemma juttae is a rare succulent indigenous to Namibia (Walvis Bay northwards to the Kunene River and further east to the Otavi Mountains). This species typically grows in very rocky, arid areas. Its habitat is often covered by open and semi-tropical, fly-infested forests. It has evolved to cope with incredibly hot and dry conditions. To ward off foraging animals, this species' leaves and flesh are bitter tasting and unpleasant. This succulent is becoming increasingly rare due to continual drops in its population size, a consequence of illegal collection.

The Cyphostemma juttae thrives in heavily dolomite laden soil (an anhydrous carbonate mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate. Alternatively, "dolostone" is used to describe this dolomitic rock type). If environmental conditions are especially severe, this succulent will drop its leaves. The plant's leaves allow too much water to evaporate, something that they cannot afford to risk.

The Cyphostemma juttae is a rare succulent ornamental tree with several large, swollen bottle-shaped stems. Alternatively, some specimens may have one thick stem with a sprawling crown of branches. Leaves are broad, serrated and blue-green in color. Its leaves form a dense canopy at the top of the plant. During the winter months, this species sheds its leaves. It sports a large caudex (caudiciform). At full maturity, this slow growing succulent's caudex reaches a height of 6' - 7' with an approximate width of 3'. As with other caudiciforms, the caudex acts as a water reservoir that the plant taps into during times of drought.

The Cyphostemma juttae's branches are thick, woody, yellow-green in color and have a white, peeling and papery bark. This bark type is hallmark of the genus. During the hotter summer months, the succulent's bark assists in reflecting strong sun rays, a mechanism that helps to keep the plant cool. Flowers bloom in early summer. Flowers are inconspicuous, are close to the same color as the plant's foliage with a slightly more creamy-yellow color. As with most cacti and succulents, their blooming season is during the summer months. Fruit takes on a grape-like appearance, hanging in bunches. Initially, the fruit is green. With time, they turn yellow and then to a beautiful wine-red. When mature, the fruit will turn to a dark purple (near black), color.

DO NOT CONSUME THE FRUIT OF THIS SPECIES. The Cyphostemma juttae's fruit contains high/toxic levels of tannins. Their delicious appearance is deceiving. Seek immediate medical care if accidentally consumed.


Cissus juttae Dinter & Gilg

Plant Details
USDA Zone Information: 
Hardy down to 31°F (for short periods- keep covered)
Vitaceae (grapes)
Flower : 
Creamy yellow-white
Ideal Light Conditions: 
Full sun
Ideal Water Conditions: 
Moderate in summer/Dry in winter
Speed of Growth: 
Mature Height: 
6' - 7'
Mature Width: 
Latin Name: 
Cyphostemma juttae
Common Name: 
Elephant's Foot, Butter Bush, Tree Grape, Bastard Cobas, Wild Grape, Namibian Grape, Droog-My-Keel, Blue Kobas

Corporate Clients (The King hangs hard)


RoboCop (1987)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
Hot Pursuit (2015)


USA Network's Queen of the South (2019)

Botanical Gardens:

New York Botanical Gardens
Oklahoma City Zoo/Botanical Gardens
Mercer Arboretum in Houston, Texas
Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Houston, TX Zoo
San Antonio, TX Zoo

Other Clientele:

Houston, TX Rodeo

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