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Bryophyllum daigremontianum, also called Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, or Mexican Hat Plant is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. Like other members of the genus Bryophyllum, it is able to propagate vegetatively from plantlets that develop on phylloclade margins. All parts of the plant are poisonous (they contain daigremontianin and other bufadienolides), which can even be fatal if ingested by infants or small pets.
Plants grow up to 1 m (3 feet) tall and have opposite and whorled, fleshy oblong-lanceolate phylloclades which grow up to 20 cm (6-8 inches) long and 3.2 cm (1.25 inches) wide. They are medium green above and blotched with purple underneath. Phylloclade margins have spoon-shaped bulbiliferous spurs which bear plantlets which may form roots while still attached to phylloclades. Batygina, T. B.; Bragina, E. A.; Titova, G. E. (1996). "Morphogenesis of propagules in viviparous species Bryophyllum daigremontianum and B. calycinum". Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae 65: 127. doi:10.5586/asbp.1996.022.</ref>
A plant may also develop lateral roots on its main stalk, as high up as 10-15 cm above the ground. A plant's upper phylloclades may grow large, causing its main stalk to bend downward. Then the lateral roots may enter soil and new vertical shoots may grow from the original shoot.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum has an umbrella-like terminal inflorescence (a compound cyme) of small bell-shaped, grayish pink (or sometimes orange) flowers. Flowering is, however, not an annual event and will occur sporadically if at all. Particularly in climates with distinct seasonal temperature differences, flowering is most frequently observed at the beginning of a warm season. In Maryland, U.S., indoor plants begin flowering in early winter.
As a succulent plant, B. daigremontianum can survive prolonged periods of drought with little or no water. It is however not frost-hardy and typically dies if subjected to temperatures below freezing.
Plants of the genus Bryophyllum as well as many other plants growing in arid regions photosynthesize through Crassulacean acid metabolism.
B. daigremontianum is native to the Fiherenana River valley and Androhibolava mountains in southwest Madagascar. It has been introduced to numerous tropical and subtropical regions, such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and parts of the Canary Islands.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana county distribution in Florida.
- "Bryophyllum daigremontianum factsheet". University of Queensland. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2
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