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Accepted Scientific Name: Kalanchoe crenata (Andrews) Haw.
Syn. Pl. Succ. 109 1812.
Origin and Habitat: Kalanchoe crenata is widespread in tropical Africa from Kenya to Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Zaire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Angola, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa (central KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape) and Arabia. It is cultivated as ornamental or escaped from cultivation and naturalised in in Egypt, Brazil, florida (USA), India and Malaysia. Although rarely encountered, K. crenata may be locally abundant.
Altitude range: From sea level up to 2300 metres.
Habitat: Forest, bushland and grassland, mostly in moist and damp placess. Few kalanchoes thrive in moist, shady situations but this is one species that does just that: it prefers the undergrowth at the margins of mist-belt forests, growing on both earth banks and mossy rocks, but can also grow in more sunny hot and dry area often among rocks, by roadside in cultivated land.
Kalanchoe crenata (Andrews) Haw.
Syn. Pl. Succ. 109 1812.
- Kalanchoe crenata (Andrews) Haw.
- Cotyledon crenata (Andrews) Vent.
- Kalanchoe integra var. crenata (Andrews) Cufod.
- Verea crenata Andrews
- Vereia crenata Andrews
- Cotyledon aegyptiaca Lamarck
- Cotyledon deficiens Forssk.
- Cotyledon nudicaulis Lamarck
- Kalanchoe afzeliana Britten
- Kalanchoe brittenii Raym.-Hamet
- Kalanchoe crenata subs. biennis R.Fern.
- Kalanchoe crenata var. coccinea (Welw. ex Oliv.) Cufod.
- Kalanchoe coccinea Welw. ex Oliv.
- Kalanchoe crenata subs. nyassensis R.Fern.
- Kalanchoe crenata var. verea (Jacq.) Cufod.
- Kalanchoe hirta Harv.
- Kalanchoe integra var. crenato-rubra Cufod.
Description: Kalanchoe crenata is an ornamental herbaceous perennial succulent shrub forming one to several erect stems 0.3-2 m tall, it commonly called Kalanchoe, Mother of millions, never die, Dog's liver and may be confused with Bryophyllum pinnatum. The inflorescences are produced during late autumn and winter, presenting rounded heads of long, tubular orange flowers. After flowering , all aerial parts die back to a persistent rootstock, having expended their energies in the production of copious dust-like seed.
Root: It has a strong taproot.
Stem; Erect or ascending, cylindrical or obtusely quadrangular, glabrous or glabrescent towards the base and glandular-pubescent above; hairs short, usually not more than 0.5 mm long.
Leaves: Petiole up to 4 cm long, flattened and grooved above with wings along its length and slightly broadened at the base. Lamina succulent, thickly coriaceous, ovate, ovate-oblong to spathulate, mostly glabrous but also hairy, yellow to deep green, glaucous or variably tinged with purple, 4-30 cm long and up to 2.5-20 cm broad; margins distinctly crenate, subcrenate or irregularly shaped with blunt teeth, sometimes edged reddish. Apex obtuse. Base cuneate.
Inflorescences: Flowers in many-flowered corymbs, together forming a large terminal rounded panicle, up to 25-30(-40) cm long, glabrous or glandular-pubescent; pedicels 2-6(-10) mm. long.
Flowes: Long, tubular topped with four flared yellow, orange to brick-red lobes and clasped by a light green calyx, glabrous or glandular-pubescent. Floral formula K(4) C(4) A4+4 G(4). Tube 8-16 mm long, often pale or greenish yellow or whitish below. Sepals lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 2.2-8 mm. long, 3-4 mm. wide, acute to attenuate, slightly connate at the base. Lobes oblonglong-lanceolate to elliptic, 4-8 mm long, 2.5-5 mm. wide, acute, mucronate. Ovaries 4 linear-lanceolate, 5-10 mm long, terminating in styles 2-4.5 mm free or sub connate at the base.
Blooming season: Flowers are produced during late autumn and winter
Similar species: Kalanchoe crenata is similar to Kalanchoe hirta (the Yellow hairy kalanchoe) but the latter has more robust stems and leaves conspicuously succulent and hairy, with leaf margins often coarsely toothed, and the leaves themselves folding inwards. Its flowers are yellow to light orange. Tolken adopts a broad view of K. crenata which includes the hairy K. hirta which grows in South Africa.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Tolu Odugbemi “A Textbook of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria” Tolu Odugbemi, 2008
2) G.E.Wickens “Flora of Tropical East Africa - Crassulaceae” A.A.Balkema, Rotterdam, Boston, CRC Press, 30/Sep/1987
3) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
4) Gideon Smith, Neil R. Crouch “Guide to Succulents of Southern Africa” Struik Nature, 2009
5) DR. OJO JOSEPH BAMIDELE “Natural Therapy Miracle: Alternative Solution to the Prescription Drug Problems” Xlibris Corporation, 29/Jul/2013
6) Eggli, Urs “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants, Crassulaceae Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants.” Springer, Berlin 2002
7) Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2014). "Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Kalanchoe crenata subsp. crenata."
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=124890, retrieved 17 October 2014
8) L. S. de Padua, N. Bunyapraphatsara, R. H. M. J. Lemmons “Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.” Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands. 1999.
9) Walters, S. M. et al., eds. “European garden flora.” 1986
10) Dyer, R. A. et al., “Flora of southern Africa.” 1963
11) El-Hadidi, M. N. & M. S. Abdallah. “Flora of Egypt.” 1980
12) Howard, R. "Flora of the lesser Antilles. [mentions]." 1974–1989
13) Huxley, A., ed. “The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening.” 1992
14) Miller, A. G. & T. A. Cope. “Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra.” 1996
15) Padua, L. S. de et al., eds. “Medicinal and poisonous plants” 1. 12(1):337 In: Faridah Hanum, I. & L. J. G. van der Maesen, eds., "Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA)." 12(1):337. 1999
16) Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. “Flora of tropical East Africa.” 1952
Cultivation and Propagation: Kalanchoe crenata is very easy to culture. Architecturally intriguing, these rubbery, extremely handsome plant have become quite popular as an addition to summertime urns as accent plants in recent years. If planted directly in a garden bed, they can easily reach 1,5 metres and produce large heads of blossoms. Growing this kalanchoe in a container or pot restricts their growth They are absolutely gorgeous as a cut flower in a tall stemmed green vase. However the flowers are produced only by healthy plants grown on optimal conditions.
Potting mix: They thrive in nutrient poor soils consisting of equal parts of loam and sand, with pumice or lava grit added to ensure good drainage.
Exposure: Mature plants do best in full sun to partial shade.
Watering: It needs moderate watering in autumn and spring while in summer it should be watered thoroughly and allowed to dry before watering again. In winter give only occasional watering (only when the plant starts shrivelling), but it will generally grow even in winter if given water. These plants will survive on neglect. Over-watering is the most common cause of plant failure.
Frost resistance: It prefers intermediate to warm temperatures but it is hardy to -2° C for short periods.
Maintenance: Be careful with this species in outdoor culture, once it gets into a planting bed it is difficult to get rid of it, a few tiny plantlets seem to survive any attempt to weeding them out every time, and then they reproduce again.
Traditional medicine: The leaves, roots and whole plant are used for medicinal purposes. It used in herbal medicine generally for the treatment of earache, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, abscesses, ulcers, insect bites, heart troubles, epilepsy, arthritis, dysmenorrheal, typhoid, bacterial infection, wounds, and whitlow.
Propagation: It is propagated by removal of small offsets at the base of the main plant or by leaf and stem cuttings. It grows easily roots at the end of a leaf stalk which has fallen onto ground. New plants are ready within months.
Warning: Parts of Kalanchoe crenata are poisonous if ingested. All members of Kalanchoe are toxic for livestock, birds and small animals. Dogs are reported to be particularly sensitive to the cardiotoxic effects of Kalanchoe.
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