Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kalanchoe laxiflora--Milky Widow's Thrill

I think of Kalanchoes as succulent houseplants, but this one is growing nicely outside at the UC Botanical Garden. The pink and green buds with the coral flowers make a lovely display on this K. laxiflora. Plants in this genus commonly contain cardiac glycosides,which are poisonous. Where they are native in Africa, they can cause grazing animals to become sick. Traditionally, plants in this genus have been used to treat hypertension, infections, and rheumatism. Scientists have found chemical compounds in Kalancoes have been shown to have anti-tumor and sedative effects.

What an interesting common name! Why is this plant thrilling? And why would a widow find it more thrilling than anyone else? I am totally clueless! If you know the answer, let me know.

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