Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Unfinished business re: Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Waaaaaaaaay back in the earliest days of the blog, long, long ago in the mists of last November, I did a post on Bryophyllum daigremontianum, and among many, many other things I said, I said this:

Another thing we can notice from this picture is that there seem to be two different kinds of plant here: one with sharply pointed leaves, and one with rounded leaves. (If you're having trouble seeing it, the two largest plants in the picture are the pointed kind, and the ones in the right top and right bottom corners are rounded.) I think that these are different morphs of the same plant (in which case it's also a master of disguise!), but I haven't bothered to let them grow out to check. I do know for sure that the rounded-leaf type will eventually grow up to develop spots and serrated edges, because I did grow one of those out, by itself, to see what it would do. So if anybody knows for sure that Bryophyllum daigremontianum is (or isn't) capable of changing its appearance like this, let me know. If not, I will be forced to grow out one of each and see what happens.

And then I completely forgot about this, because, frankly, it wasn't the most interesting of questions, and then I had a blog to photograph barns with, plants that needed to be written, and a husband to water, and there was this whole big thing. But, owing to the work policy of forgetting the hell about the cactus and succulents once the annuals began arriving, some of everything grew out anyway, et voilĂ  --

This is the plant that results if you let the pointy leaves grow out on their own. I don't know what it is, but it's not Bryophyllum daigremontianum, a.k.a. Kalanchoe daigremontiana. (Anybody have an ID?) And now we know.


Unknown said...

I've been meaning to tell you for ages that your mystery plant is Lenophyllum texanum. I have it as a weed of my outdoor potted succulenta. For many years, before I tracked down the name I used to call it "The Evil Sedum". If you ever wanted to do a profile (anti-profile?) on a weed this would be a good one! Personally I find it far more annoying than any of the Bryophyllum species, because it shatters when you try to pull it out of pots and then you have to pick up every single leaf separately. Miss just one leaf, even a tiny one, and it is all to do again! BAH!

mr_subjunctive said...


Yeah, I deliberately cultivated a pot of it for a couple years here, just to see what would happen with it indoors. It was actually pretty well-behaved for me, though some of that had to have been because it had neighbors that were even weedier (5 pots of Sedum x rubrotinctum).

On the other hand, I eventually got tired of both Sedum and Lenophyllum, pulled all six pots out of the flat and threw them away. If any Sedum leaves survived, they've dried up and died, but a handful of Lenophyllum leaves survived in a couple of the flat's empty wells, and they're still growing, despite only getting watered every two weeks and being three inches down in a black plastic flat, under artificial lights. It's difficult for me not to find this kind of admirable.

The blooms are also kind of nice (2010 blog post), though I never saw any indoors; probably the light wasn't strong enough.

Which is not to say I'm planning to keep cultivating it in hopes of seeing the flowers again, just that if it's not bothering anybody right now, I'm inclined to let it stay just because it's trying so hard.