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Kalanchoe pinnata


Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.

Family Name: Crassulaceae
Synonyms: Bryophyllum calycinum, Crassula pinnata, Cotyledon pinnata, Bryophyllum pinnatum
Common Name: Life Plant, Mother of Thousands, Miracle Leaf, Setawar Kampung, 落地生根


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 0.9 m to 1.8 m


Native Distribution Madagascar
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herbaceous succulent shrub, up to 1.8m height.
Foliage Leaves smooth, glossy, fleshy, with brownish crenate margins, from which plant produces new plantlets. Lower leaves simple, upper leaves compound with 3-7 leaflets held on long petioles.
Flowers Attractive, bell-shaped, pendulous, held in large stalked panicles.
Fruit Membranous follicles covered by persistent flower parts, with numerous seeds.
Associated Fauna Host plant for caterpillars of Talycada nyseus (Red Pierrot) butterfly. Caterpillars tunnel through inner leaf tissues, leaving epidermis intact, resulting in translucent or water-soaked patches on leaves.
Cultivation Prefers well-drained soils. Propagate by stem cuttings or leaf plantlets. Plantlets are easily produced from fallen leaves, and may become weedy.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Kalanchoe' (correctly pronounced as kal-un-KOH-ee) reportedly derived from Chinese dialect name for a species in this genus (perhaps Kalanchoe ceratophylla) . Species epithet 'pinnata' means 'feather-like', describing how the leaves are arranged on each side of a common stalk.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Herb and Spice)
Others: Medicinal: Well-known for healing properties in folk medicine, said to be able to heal wounds with minimal scarring. Leaf pulp applied topically as poultices for skin lesions, sores, inflammation and to arrest bleeding, or made into lotions to treat smallpox. Leaf paste applied to chest to relieve coughs, or to temples to relieve headaches. Eaten fresh or dried to treat symptoms of diarhhoea, dysentery, chlorea, and dissolve kidney stones. Cultural: Stems and leaves sometimes hung in houses to summon good spirits & ward off evil ones. Leaves also commonly placed in between pages of book as living bookmarks.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, General, Green Roof, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Rockery / Desert Garden, Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Can cause cardiac poisoning in grazing animals.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Disease / Pest Resistant, Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Potential Problems New plantlets grow very easily from edges of fallen leaves. May become weedy or a nuisance.
Diseases Plant may suffer root rot If grown in poorly-drained soils.
Propagation Method Stem Cutting, Leaf Cutting, Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Brown, Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite, Spiral
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Crenate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Aboveground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Pink, Red
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Ovary Position Superior / Hypogynous
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Follicle

Image Repository



Master ID 13139
Species ID 3323
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 06 March 2023.