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Herbarium specimen. Copyright CSIRO

Bryophyllum pinnatum

Family

Crassulaceae

Botanical Name

Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz

Kurz, W.S. (1871) Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Part 2. Natural history 40: 52. Type: ?.

Synonyms

Cotyledon pinnata Lam., Encyclopedie Methodique, Botanique 2: 141(1783), Type: LIsle de France.

Common name

Air Plant; Mother of Millions

Stem

Stems succulent, glabrous, glaucous; stems hollow, 50-200 cm tall, rarely branched; producing vegetatively by adventitious shoots from base.

Leaves

Leaves succulent. Lower and uppermost leaves simple, middle leaves usually pinnately compound with 3-5 leaflets, opposite, blades flat, elliptic, 5-20 x 2-10 cm, margins crenate, sometimes producing plantlets, petioles 2-10 cm long.

Flowers

Flowers in paniculate cymes 20-80 cm long, each pendent on pedicels 1-2.5 cm long; sepals pale yellow streaked with red, connate, cylindrical, inflated and papery, tube 2.5-4.5 cm long, the lobes +/- 1 cm long; corolla 3-6 cm long, the exserted part maroon, sparsely glandular pubescent.

Fruit

Follicles 10-14 mm long, acute, enclosed in the persistent papery calyx. Seeds numerous per fruit, obovoid, obtuse at the apex 0.8-1.2 x 0.2-0.35 mm.

Seedlings

Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from Madagascar now naturalized in NEQ as far south as Brisbane. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 780 m. Occurs in Eucalyptus forest, strand forest and Casuarina woodland. More common in dune vegetation.

Natural History

Plants contain bufadienolide cardiac glycosides that can cause cardiac poisoning, particularly in grazing animals (McKenzie 1986 & 1987).

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)

X

RFK Code

4041