Mystery solved…the life of the plant smuggler

I confess. I am one. I do smuggle plants. Well, technically, within the EU it’s not an issue as a legal-minded friend of mine once checked before agreeing to be implicated in another of my operations.  But I lost my heart to this on the roof terrace in Fes, Morocco…

Mystery plant...

Mystery plant…

The colour can’t quite be captured. It’s a bronze-pink that at first glance looks on the dusty side, but as you can see, when you look up into the flowers which required virtually lying at their feet, you can see the orange in the pink and it is beguiling.  It was growing in pots, on its own and with very spikey cacti, and although obviously not a rain lover, it was coping with cool temperatures and clearly spent its whole life outdoors there.

Cactus

As the rain battered down here at home this morning, I felt like trying to track it down.  On Google, there was an image! Someone else on the trail of the mystery plant, and usefully, for me, explaining the difference between cacti and succulents.  John Nelson, in a blog called JournalScene, solved the mystery. It is the ‘Mother of Thousands’ plant, or Kalanchoe diagremontiana.  It does a dying swan act, and dies after flowering, but don’t weep. it produces loads of tiny baby plants as John Nelson explains, and so then there is a wait of a year or two before you get the sequence rolling. I then found another short introduction to the plant on the Desert Tropicals site, one that I often use for desert plants that I often know nothing about.  You may also find it called ‘Bryophyllum daigremontianum’ .  My four babies are doing fine, if a bit shocked at being cold in my hold baggage, and will be potted up today and kept indoors till it reliably warms up.  I am not holding my breath on that one. It seems to have been cold and wet for decades already.

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