4. Bryophyllum Salisbury, Parad. Lond. plate 3. 1805.
[Greek bryo, swell, and phyllon, leaf]
Reid V. Moran
Kalanchoe Adanson sect. Bryophyllum (Salisbury) Boiteau & Mannoni
Herbs [shrubs], perennial, (sometimes suckering at base), usually viviparous (with plantlets on leaf margins and inflorescences), 5-80 dm, glabrous [pubescent]. Stems mostly erect [scandent], branching or often simple proximal to cyme, often bare by anthesis, succulent. Leaves persistent, cauline, sometimes subrosulate, mostly opposite, sometimes in whorls of 3, sessile or petiolate, subclasping basally, (narrowed apically); blade obovate or triangular to lanceolate or elliptic-oblong, laminar (B. delagoense subcylindric), 2-50 cm, fleshy, base not spurred, margins entire, lobed, or 1-2 times imparipinnate; veins not conspicuous. Inflorescences terminal cymes, often paniculate (branches 1-5 times bifurcate with flower in fork). Pedicels present. Flowers pendulous, 4-merous; sepals connate basally or into tube (calyx often inflated and accrescent in fruit), all alike; petals erect, connate into tube, orange, yellow-green marked with lavender, pale yellow flecked with red, orange-red, scarlet, pink, lavender, yellow-green flecked with violet-red, or greenish white with maroon distally, (corolla throat 2-4 times subglobose tube, often constricted against pistils at base, lobes shorter than throat); calyx and corolla not circumscissile in fruit; nectaries semicircular to linear; stamens [mostly] 8; filaments adnate on corolla tube; pistils erect, (often connate basally); ovary base somewhat narrowed, tapering to styles; styles 2-4 times longer than ovary. Fruits [mostly] erect. Seeds ellipsoid, ribbed, finely cross-ribbed. x = 17.
Species ca. 30 (5 in the flora): introduced; Indian Ocean Islands (Madagascar); 1 widespread in the tropics.
Because of some intermediates, Bryophyllum is often included in Kalanchoe, as by P. Boiteau and L. Allorge-Boiteau (1995). M. Lauzac-Marchal (1974) argued for separation; the case is not clear.
Some species of Bryophyllum are widely naturalized in Australia, southern Africa, and elsewhere. The five species and one hybrid that infest over 10,000 hectares in Queensland are highly toxic to livestock, particularly cattle, with bufadienolides that cause cardiac glycoside poisoning (P. I. Forster 1996; R. A. McKenzie and P. J. Dunster 1986; McKenzie et al. 1987). The widespread B. pinnatum is commonly used to treat rheumatism, ulcers, burns, infections, and inflammations, as well as for old-fashioned magic, and has been the subject of many biological and phytochemical studies Some other species have similar uses and have also been studied (S. S. Costa et al. 1995).
SELECTED REFERENCE Lauzac-Marchal, M. 1974. Réhabilitation du genre Bryophyllum Salisb. (Crassulacées Kalanchoidées). Compt. Rend. Hebd. Séances Acad. Sci., Sér. D 278: 2505-2508.