Ajuntament de Barcelona

Kalanchoe behariensis

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    English name: 
    Elephant's ear
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Kalanchoe van-tieghemii
    Species characteristics
    Semiarid and airy warm areas

    Perennial plant up to 3 m tall, although in its natural habitat it can reach 6 m, with thin, grey and usually not ramified stem, the top half of which is velvety.

    The olive green leaves are fleshy and big (10-20 cm long and 5-10 cm wide). They are in a triangular shape with irregular lobes irregulars and are covered by tan or bluish velvety tomentum, with a golden shade on the tips and a silver one on the edges. The oldest leaves bend in a concave form.

    The greenish yellow flowers, with a smell similar to violets, have a short peduncle and a jug-shaped corolla  0,7 cm long, formed by 4 rounded petals, about 0,4 cm long, which are almost completely welded. They appear into very ramified and hairy corymbs (inflorescences where all the flowers are born at different stem levels but rise to a similar level) about 50 or 60 cm tall.

    Flowering time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Plant widely used in gardening with decoration purposes both in gardens and pots.

    Non-resilient to temperatures below 5 to 6 Celsius degrees.

    History and curiosities: 

    Unlike other scientific names, the origin of Kalanchoe, genus that was described for the first time in 1763 by the French botanist Michel Adanson (1727-1806), still is a mystery. It could be a phonetic transcription, and late latinization, from the Chinese jia lan cai shu, which would be the Chinese name of one of the species of this genus, perhaps the Kalanchoe ceratophylla or the Kalanchoe spathulata. However, other sources trace back the term to the Sanskrit terms kalańka-, “stain” or “rust”, and chāyā, “bright”, which would refer to the reddish and bright leaves of the Indian species Kalanchoe laciniata.

    The term beharensis, which indicates the species, is the Latin word for "from Behara", town of Madagascar.

    For further information: 

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996