Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum?) Pinnata

Kalanchoe pinnata is a succulent perennial that grows 4-6 feet tall on hollow stems. It has bright green leaves comprised of 3-5 leaflets with distinctively scalloped dark maroon margins.Bryophyllum pinnata, 12/2/13

The number of leaflets present varies from one (simple) near the base of the stem to two or more (compound) as the plant grows.

Bryophyllum pinnata compound leaflets, 11/05/13

When more than one leaflet is present, the one at the tip is significantly larger than the others, as seen in the next image:

Bryophyllum pinnata, 11/05/13

Although I’ve been calling this succulent a Kalanchoe,  Bryophyllum appears to be the current taxonomy based on several characteristics: (1) formation of plantlets in the leaf notches AFTER the leaf falls from the stem (2) the presence of pendulous flowers, (3) origins in Madagascar.

In contrast, species classified in the Kalanchoe group originate from a larger geographic range, have upright-facing flowers and produce plantlets along the margins of leaves still attached to the mother plant.  Of course all of this could change because numerous species don’t fit neatly in either category, and taxonomy has a way of updating with each new DNA analysis. 😮

But for now, let’s take a look at the traits that made K. pinnata the Bryophyllum she is today ➡ pendent flowers opening from short, lateral branches on tall, chandelier-like stalks.

Bryophyllum pinnata blooming, 12/02/13

The individual blooms are 1″ long and tubular shaped, emerging pinkish-green and deepening to red before drying on the stalk as a pale, papery brown. .

Bryophyllum pinnata flower, 12/02/13

When pinnata drops a leaflet, it goes into survival mode: bulbils (plantlets) begin growing along the leaf notches.

Bryophyllum pinnata leaf with bulbil, 12/02/13

As you might imagine, this form of propagation can be mighty invasive!  Good thing I like these burgeoning renamed kalanchoes! 🙂 I’m surrounded! 😉

Bryophyllum pinnata flower close up, 12/02/13

Until next time…….. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement

I love how these weekly challenges are falling into my lap lately!

Just after sunset on June 28, I heard a few rolls of thunder and noticed the wind picking up.  Because I’m famous for dropping watering cans all over the place, I went outside to secure my stray missiles!  What happened next is something I HATE: I heard a buzzing sound and got bopped on the head!!!!!

EWWWW! BUG!

Fortunately, the movement I’d felt was merely the beating wings of a moth…..one I’d never seen before, so I ran for the camera:

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth on Zinnia Elegans, Ranchero

Clearwing Hummingbird Moths (aka Hemaris Thysbe) are 1.5 to 2″ long, greenish and burgundy in color, with pale-colored legs. This is very defintely a moth of North America, with a range that extends from Alaska/Southern Canada across to the Maritimes, downward to Florida and everywhere in between!  It can easily be mistaken for a hummingbird, especially in sideview:

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth


Drinking nectar via proboscis

Note the movement of it’s wings!  The moth hovered briefly, sipping for only a few seconds before flitting off!

I was so thrilled to photograph this unexpected visitor….and since I hate posts with loose ends almost as much as bops to the head 😉 I’ll leave you with an FYI ➡ it never did rain that night! 🙂

Until next time….

🙂 🙂