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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kalanchoe pinnata
Vegetative reproduction in the "Air Plant", Kalanchoe pinnata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Kalanchoe
Section: Bryophyllum
Species: K. pinnata
Binomial name
Kalanchoe pinnata
(Lam.) Pers.

Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Oken , Bryophyllum calycinum

Kalanchoe pinnata (syn. Bryophyllum calycinum, Bryophyllum pinnatum, also known as the Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant and the Katakataka (Filipino)) is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. It is distinctive for the profusion of miniature plantlets that form on the margins of its leaves, a trait it has in common with the other members of the Bryophyllum section of the Kalanchoe genus.

It is a popular houseplant and has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean.



Kalanchoe pinnata illustrated in Flora de Filipinas by Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.)

Distribution and introduction

Kalanchoe pinnata has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Macaronesia, Mascarenes, Galapagos, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii.[1] In many of these, such as Hawaii, it is regarded as an invasive species.[2] It is also widely distributed in the Philippines and it is known as katakataka or kataka-taka which is also an adjective meaning astonishing or remarkable.[3][4][5]

Much of the reason for the widespread naturalization of this plant can be traced to its popularity as a garden plant. The writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - who also was an amateur naturalist of some repute - was "passionately fond" of this plant and liked to give the baby plantlets as gifts to friends who visited his home. He also discussed his air plant at length in an essay titled Geschichte meiner botanischen Studien ("History of my botanical studies").

Taxonomy and nomenclature


Subspecies and hybrids

Common names

Vernacular names for Kalanchoe pinnata include Cathedral Bells, Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant and the Katakataka. The first two of these are also commonly names for plants of other species and genera. Also called "Wonder of the World" in the English speaking Caribbean.


Agricultural impacts and control


Toxicity and traditional medicine

In common with other Crassulaceae (such as the genera Tylecodon, Cotyledon and Adromischus), Kalanchoe pinnata has been found to contain bufadienolide cardiac glycosides[6] These can cause cardiac poisoning, particularly in grazing animals.[7][8]

In traditional medicine, Kalanchoe species have been used to treat ailments such as infections, rheumatism and inflammation. Kalanchoe extracts also have immunosuppressive effects. Kalanchoe pinnata has been recorded in Trinidad and Tobago as being used as a traditional treatment for hypertension and for the treatment of kidney stones in India where is goes by the name of Pather Chat or Paan-futti.[9]

Bufadienolide compounds isolated from Kalanchoe pinnata include bryophillin A which showed strong anti-tumor promoting activity, and bersaldegenin-3-acetate and bryophillin C which were less active.[10] Bryophillin C also showed insecticidal properties.[11]

Other uses


  1. ^ "Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.". USDA GRIN Taxonomy for Plants. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  2. ^ "Kalanchoe pinnata". Hawaii's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  3. ^ "Katakataka". Philippine Medicinal Plants. Retrieved 2008-11-20.  
  4. ^ "Kataka-taka". Filipino Herbs Healing Wonders. Retrieved 2008-11-20.  
  5. ^ "Katakataka". Tagalog English Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-11-20.  
  6. ^ Steyn, Pieter S (1998). "Bufadienolides of plant and animal origin". Natural Product Reports. Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 2007-09-19.  
  7. ^ McKenzie RA, Dunster PJ (July 1986). "Hearts and flowers: Bryophyllum poisoning of cattle". Aust. Vet. J. 63 (7): 222–7. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.1986.tb03000.x. PMID 3778371.  
  8. ^ McKenzie RA, Franke FP, Dunster PJ (October 1987). "The toxicity to cattle and bufadienolide content of six Bryophyllum species". Aust. Vet. J. 64 (10): 298–301. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.1987.tb07330.x. PMID 3439945.  
  9. ^ Lans CA (2006). "Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus". J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2: 45. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-45. PMID 17040567. PMC 1624823.  
  10. ^ Supratman U, Fujita T, Akiyama K et al. (April 2001). "Anti-tumor promoting activity of bufadienolides from Kalanchoe pinnata and K. daigremontiana x tubiflora" (PDF). Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 65 (4): 947–9. doi:10.1271/bbb.65.947. PMID 11388478.  
  11. ^ Supratman U, Fujita T, Akiyama K, Hayashi H (June 2000). "New insecticidal bufadienolide, bryophyllin C, from Kalanchoe pinnata" (PDF). Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 64 (6): 1310–2. doi:10.1271/bbb.64.1310. PMID 10923811.  

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Kalanchoe pinnata


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Unassigned core eudicots
Ordo: Saxifragales
Familia: Crassulaceae
Subfamilia: Kalanchoideae
Genus: Kalanchoe
Species: Kalanchoe pinnata


Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.


  • Bryophyllum calycinum
  • Bryophyllum pinnatum


  • Syn. pl. 1:446. 1805
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. 21076

Vernacular names

English: Air Plant(USA), Cathedral Bells, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant, Mother Of Thousands, Never Dead, Parvu, Wonder-Of-The-World(Trinidad)
Español: Herbe Mal Tete(Dominica), Hoja del Aire(Bolivia)
Hawai`i: 'Oliwa Ka Kahakai
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Kalanchoe pinnata on Wikimedia Commons.


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