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HUMILIS  Britten, 1871 (engl./ fr.)

Synonyms :

Kalanchoe prasina  N.E.Brown (1904)

Kalanchoe figueiredoi  Croizat (1937)


Section Kalanchoe


Distribution : Tanzania, Malawi, Moçambique, between rocks in crevices, 1200 - 1400 m.

Description by R. Fernandes in Flora Zambesiaca, 1983 :

A completely glabrous, perennial succulent up to 83 cm. tall (with the inflorescence).

Stem 2·5-11 cm. long (up to 20 cm. (?) in cultivated plants) arising from a subhorizontal rhizomatous woody base up to 1 cm. thick, erect or oblique, simple or with few branches, purple or slightly glaucous; lower internodes ± short, the upper ones increasing up to 8-5 cm.

Leaves (1·5)3-10(13) x (0·7)1·5-3·7(6) cm., obovate to spathulate, rounded or subtruncate at the top, all entire or the upper ones irregularly and obtusely crenate towards the apex, cuneate below and tapering into a broad petiolar base or subsessile, fleshy, flattish, rigid and subchartaceous on drying, pale green with a slight glaucous bloom on both sides, sometimes with purplish spots, decussate, sometimes crowded and subrosulate or, mainly the upper ones, ± scattered, the lower spreading, the upper suberect; nerves faintly conspicuous.

Flowers small, erect or horizontal, in dichasiums grouped in a terminal, sometimes diffuse panicle, 12-38 cm. long, very ample, very floriferous and with flexuous axis in cultivated plants, with a glaucous bloom.

Peduncle (5)20-41 cm. long, straight or flexuous, terete, smooth, with 1·3 pairs of lanceolate, barren bracts; primary panicle-branches in 2-4 pairs, up to 11 cm. long, erect to erect-spreading, slender, subtended by bracts:fc 3-5 mm. long, the lower ones repeatedly dichotomous; cymes 4-7 cm. long, unilateral, with 4-13 flowers; pedicels 2-10(15) mm. long, much longer than the minute bracteoles, thickened upwards, dull purple.

Calyx 1·1·5(2) mm. long and 2 mm. in diameter, dull purple, falling off with the corolla; tube 0·25-0·5 mm. long; sepals broadly triangular, acute, glaucous.

Corolla 5-7(8) mm. long; tube 4·5-5 mm. long, obsoletely 4-angled and scarcely dilated at the base, c. 4·5 mm. in diameter at the top and there distinctly 4-angled, greenish (lineolate with violet) to lilac; corolla-lobes 1·75-2(3) x 1·1-8 mm., oblong, obtuse, erect or slightly spreading, whitish or greenish, with the median part dull purple or with 5-7 longitudinal purplish veins. Filaments minutely papillose, inserted above the middle of corolla-tube, those of the lower stamens c. 0-5 mm. long, those of the upper ones 0·75-1·5 mm.; anthers 0·5 or 1 mm. long, suborbicular or oblong, apiculate, those of the lower stamens ± at the level of the mouth of corolla-tube, those of the upper ones exserted (attaining the middle of corolla-lobes). Follicles 4·5-5 mm. long; styles 0·5-1 mm. long. Scales 1·5-2 mm. long, linear, bifid.

Cytology : 2n = 34


Cultivated plants, as those described respectively by L. Croizat (as K. figueiredoi) and N. E. Brown (as K. prasina), are taller and more robust, with larger leaves, ampler inflorescences and slightly larger flowers than spontaneous ones. K. humilis was based on a small, slender specimen, but with its characteristic small purplish flowers it cannot be separated from the two preceding taxa.


Note :

The species has also been distributed as Kalanchoe spec. Kenya, however it has not been found there.

It has been found on the Montagora Hills and on Litenga Hill in the Songea District in the south of Tanzania between rocks in 1200 - 1410 m.

Link to an English and French description by B. Descoings in IHSP, 2003.


Link to photos by / Lien de photos par Sven Bernhard 

Photo Ronen Shtein

Photos Benoît Henri

Photo Noelene Tomlinson

Plants Ngena Nursery, Cullinan, SA

Plants: Weltevrede Succulent Nursery, South Africa

Photos Jacquie Koutsoudis, SA

The leaves of K. humilis and K. marmorata can be very similar, however the flowers are completely different.

 Les feuilles de K. humilis et de K. marmorata peuvent se ressembler ou non car elles sont variables dans une même espèce, par ailleurs, les fleurs sont totalement différentes, taille, forme, couleur etc. - j'ai photographié mes plantes en fleurs, donc déterminé :

Photos & text Bernard Descoings

A clone from Ribaue district, Mozanbique, displaying especially colourful leaves in winter :

Photos Jacquie Koutsoudis

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