Tillandsias, Mesembs, orchids, herbalism, art, pensive musings, and gardening on sand dunes.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Bloomin' Kalanchoes: Panda vs. Devil!
Kalanchoe daigremontiana ("The Devil's Backbone", or "Mother of Millions") and Kalanchoe tomentosa ("The Panda Plant") are both Madagascar natives. One is a scary, often invasive plant that can clone itself endlessly until it takes over your garden, and from there, the world; the other is cute, fuzzy, and slow-growing. Considering they are cousins, it's amazing how different they are. Here is the Panda-
Kalanchoe tomentosa, the Panda Plant, MR
And here is the Mother of Millions:
Flowering stalks of Kalanchoe daigremontiana, MR 2014
Quite shocking, isn't it? K. daigremontiana does not bloom regularly, and some don't bloom at all. Mine love to bloom and are happy to do it whenever the mood strikes. This year, it's in winter. The blooms are odorless but very unique, if a little scary looking. But hey, it's a scary plant! Before putting some in your garden, know that you'll never get rid of it (mine was planted by the former resident of my house, years ago), and it's entirely toxic to small children, pets, and most wildlife. Reptiles live very happily within it, however, as it offers them protection from predators. Scientists are working with the toxins to create cardiac and psychiatric medications, so it may prove useful to us down the line. Sure is a fascinating plant, but growing its sweeter cousin, the Panda, is a safer bet!