Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mother of Millions

This time of year the cactus and succulent plants are flowering. Particularly beautiful are the flowers of Bryophyllum delagoense or commonly called Mother of Millions. Sometimes, it is also called the alligator plant. Its purplish pink leaves are speckled. Plantlets form at the end of the tubular leaves. This plant is deemed highly invasive as each of these plantlets drops and form a new plant.

I recently found out that in addition to being highly invasive ( which it has not been so far in my garden) it is also highly toxic. The whole plant especially beautiful flowers are extremely toxic. It is a problem in Australia where grazing cattle die from eating the the plants. I have not found any articles to suggest that it is toxic to other animal but it worries me. My dog Frasier has been known to `taste' plants especially after a rain, licking raindrops off plants. I will have to consider removing this plant from my garden. So, this might be the last year you see these beautiful flowers. Frasier triumphs over flowers!!

Notice the plantlets at the end of the tubular leaves. Each one falls and becomes a new plant. One mother plant will make hundreds of new plants. ( the Jade Plant in the background is full of white flowers).

The plant sends out a tall flower stalk as much as 3 feet high. Cluster of bell shape coral color flowers top the stalk.

How could such beautiful flowers be toxic?? They sure look succulent and juicy.

It provides a nice splash of color against the mainly green succulent garden.

Flower s blooming on top of the long flower stalk. This helps with the dispersement of the plantlets and seeds.

My beautiful, loving Standard Poodle - FRASIER! He is my garden companion.

"You looking at me? I did not do it!! - he tries to look innocent. Frasier or Mother of Millions?


  1. So many flowers, mother of millions indeed. Your garden companion is truly adorable and cute.

  2. Frasier thanks you for your compliment:) I wonder Autumn Belle if you know the name of that succulent leaf that we used to put between pages of our books? It would form a plantlet at the notch of the leaf. Like Mother of Millions you can get many plants form just one leaf

  3. Aha, you remind me of this leaf which I tend to think about on and off and wonder the same thing. We call it 'kok tei sang kan' in Cantonese meaning roots will grown when leaf touches the ground. Can it be the Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)?

  4. I know that cantonese name! It is definitely a Kalanchoe but I don't think it is Kalanchoe daigremontiana. I remember the leaf was more rounded in shape. Kalanchoe daigremontiana is more slender and pointy. I see Kalanchoe daigremontiana all the time when I am in Malaysia but haven't seen my "bookmark" kalanchoe in so long. I hope it has not gone extinct!! I think the best bet to find the plant is in small kampungs and town, where the old ladies are still growing heritage plants

  5. It's been ages since I saw a 'lok dei sang kan' leaf or plant. Must KIV this in my mind and ask around, maybe the nursery owners.