Genus with around 12 succulent shrubs or subshrubs with an erect branching habit, leaves are fleshy and these plants can develop stems which become firm and woody with age. Foliage is opposite or occasionally in a whorled arrangement. Leaves are rounded and some species possess soft, shallow teeth on the upper edge, these usually develop a red-brown colouration on the tips of the teeth, giving a spotted patterning at the leaf tips. One of the most recognisable species in this genus, Cotyledon tomentosa is commonly called bears paw, this name references the leaf appearance, they are thought to resemble the paws of bears. Leaves may be smooth or more often covered densely in hairs, giving a velvety surface texture. Pendulous, tubular or star-shaped flowers are produced on vertical inflorescences, these have fairly long flower stalks and are arranged in clusters on short cymes. Petals are variable across species, there always 5 but some are reflexed and thus bend backwards away from the flower throat, others have their petals fused, forming a long tube.