Kalanchoe luciae

This striking succulent is native to southern Africa. This happy specimen was photographed from directly overhead—its leaves were held close and vertical. Kalanchoe luciae or paddle plant is a branched, succulent, biennial herb. It can grow to a metre and half in height or more. The large basal leaves(6-18(23·5) x 5·5-15 cm.) are often held tightly and vertically like stacked plates, as in this image. The leaves are covered in a white powder that protects them from extreme sun. In cooler weather they are blushed red.

Sorry for the delay of this post and to those who saw it when it first released with the incorrect plant ID. Thanks to the initial commenters for pointing this out.

Kalanchoe luciae

12 responses to “Kalanchoe luciae”

  1. mike

    Are you sure that’s Cotyledon orbiculata? I’m pretty sure that’s Kalanchoe luciae (thrysiflora of Hort.).

  2. Eric La Fountaine

    Thanks Mike,

    This is not really a plant that I was familiar with. We have Cotyledon orbiculata at the Garden, and with the variability of that species, I thought we had pinned it. I saw it on a recent trip to San Diego and was drawn to the plant.

    Another comment was posted before I rewrote the article, but it seems to have been lost in the reposting, although I replied by email to the poster. The comment was about the Juncus sp., a water loving plant, growing next to the Kalanchoe a dry zone plant. It is curious. The San Diego climate has low rainfall, but has moderate temperatures and receives frequent fog, so it seems to support an amazing mix of plants.

  3. Elizabeth

    Beautiful!! Looks like the protective plates of something pre historic…

  4. Sue in Bremerton

    Is it edible?

  5. Eric La Fountaine

    I did not find any information indicating it would be edible. I doubt that it would be. I think most or all Kalanchoe species contain toxins.

  6. phillip

    its as though the rocks behind split open to give this display..as a flowering rock…

  7. Don Fenton

    Re the comment about plants growing [apparently] out of their climatic reach: a couple of years ago, a Jugoslav visitor to my house looked at the Cherries growing a mere few feet from Citrus and Figs and said: “You could never do that in my country!” Today he could look at the Avocado and Mango trees as well! Truly, we are very marginal for Citrus here, but careful attention to the micro-climate where one puts an individual plant works wonders. We also manage Reticulate Iris [which I was told I could not grow], Galanthus and some warm-temperate orchids.

  8. hollis

    wow, that’s wild! thanks

  9. Kathleen Garness

    I’m curious about the orientation of the leaves – are they north/south, or east/west, to either capture or avoid the worst of the sun?

  10. Johnny P

    Kathleen Garness: Given that the two plants in the picture are almost perpendicularly-oriented to each other, I doubt that the cardinal directions are of much relevance to their orientation.

  11. Brent

    Very cool – I love it! A really different take on this interesting genus. Most of us see only K. blossfeldiana, for sale in grocery stores as a windowsill plant.

  12. Ron B

    Proof that giant clams came on land.

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