Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

Botanical name

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

Other names

Flapjacks; paddle plant; geelplakkie or meelplakkie (Afrikaans)

Family

Crassulaceae (stonecrop)

Dimensions

A perennial (lasts for a few years), succulent plant with large disc-shaped leaves in a basal rosette on a short stem, producing a flower stalk of over 1 m before dying back; the leaves point upward, which faciltates coping with much direct sun; tends to form clumps

Description of stem

Short, thick and curving, marked where old leaves had fallen off

Description of leaves

Large sessile round and flat, succulent (pancake-shaped!); smooth, entire margin, reddish towards the edge, especially if living in dry and harsh sunlight conditions; greyish blue-green elsewhere with a powdery bloom or 'frosty' coating on the leaf surface; smaller leaves occur on the flower stalk, decreasing in size towards the top; the powdery substance resembling flour that occurs abundantly on the leaves and other parts led to the Afrikaans name of 'meelplakkie'

Description of flowers

The flower is a terminal panicle resembling a thyrse with obscured axis and several sub-axes, on a long, erect stalk; the small, bulging tube-like flowers are grey-green, with four orange-yellow recurving petals, densely clustered and open in random patterns across the thyrse; flowering may occur any time from March through the winter to about October; may flower from the second year

Desciption of seed/fruit

The seeds ripen only later in mature plants

Description of roots

 

Variation

 

Propagation and cultivation

The small rosettes appearing on the stem and stalk can be removed and grow very easily; does well in dry and sunny conditions; tends to form new growth if the old flower stalks are removed

Tolerances

Drought resistant, survives in hot climates; frost tender

Uses

An attractive and easy to grow garden plant

Ecological rarity

Not threatened, widely distributed

Pests and diseases

 

Other

May be confused with Kalanchoe luciae that has whitish petals and somewhat differently shaped leaves?

Location

Occurs commonly in grassveld in rocky areas and exposed hilltops

Distribution (SA provinces)

Eastern Cape; Kwazulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo

Country

South Africa and widely across Africa and into Asia

 

Botanical Gardens