Bryophyllum delagoense

Bryophyllum delagoense.

Synonyms include Bryophyllum tubiflorum, B. verticillatum, Kalanchoe tubiflora, K. delagoensis and K. verticillata.
Native to Madagascar they are commonly known as Mother of millions, Chandelier plant or Christmas bells.
They are widely naturalised and an invasive weed in S. E. Queensland.
They are not as commonly seen around Brisbane as they were years ago.

The succulent plants can be up to 1 or 2 m tall.
Stems are initially erect but older ones may be prostrate then bend up at right angles.
The smooth round grey or pinkish stems rarely branch apart from the inflorescences.
They may have a white or bluish bloom and purplish streaks.

The linear leaves are opposite and decussate but older ones may be alternate.
They can be up to 14 cm long and 6 mm thick.
Leaves, with a tapering base but no petiole are cylindrical with a shallow groove down one side.
Young leaves are green but older ones, even on one plant can be pinkish, pale grey or brown.
They have long or short streaks in dark green or dark grey to black.
Sometimes the marking are so extensive the leaf can be almost black all over.

At the tip of the leaves are 3 to 9 small fleshy teeth.
Each tooth is shaped like a cone only a few mms long.
The tiny plantlets that form on these drop off to produce new plants.

Terminal inflorescences are dense, branched clusters of pendant flowers.
Each inflorescence can be up to 20 or 25 cm wide.
The bisexual flowers are on a stalk up to 2 cm long with small bracteoles.
Tubular flowers, with parts in 4’s are 3 to 4 cm long.

The bases of the sepals are fused for around 4 mm with pointed lobes around 8 mm long.
They are a grey-green to dull reddish-purple.
The petals are fused for 2 to 2.5 cm with wide rounded flaring lobes 1 to 1.5 cm long.
The base of the tube is constricted above the ovary.
Petals are shades or red or pink with yellow and orange.

The 8 stamens, of slightly different lengths are inserted onto the corolla tube just above the constricted section.
The ovate anthers, opening through longitudinal slits are held within the corolla tube.

The superior ovary has 4 carpels that are only fused at the base.
Each carpel, around 6 mm long tapers to a style up to 2.5 cm long.
At the base of each carpel is a nectary around 2 mm long and 1 mm wide with a rounded top.
Each carpel holds numerous ovules in 2 rows.

The fruit, consisting of 4 follicles mature from green to brown and the dead flower parts remain around them.
Each follicle splits down the side facing the central axis and between the 2 rows of seeds.
The numerous brown seeds are up to 1 mm long.

The Hybrid Mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum x houghtonii) is a hybrid between B. daigremontiana and B. delagoense.
It has shorter slightly folded leaves that have numerous teeth around the edges.