|A healthy adult B. daigremontianum|
Rather, the unusual thing about the mother-of-millions is the sheer number of plantlets and the odd place where they're produced. Most species that produce plantlets do so either from a modified stem (like the stolons of spider plants) or a modified flowering structure (like the bulbils that sometimes replace garlic's flowers). B. daigremontianum scoffs at that: its bulbils grow right on the leaves. From every notch in its serrated leaf edges springs a little green peg of leaf tissue, and from every peg springs a single tiny plantlet, complete with minute leaves and fine baby roots. A large, healthy mother-of-millions can produce hundreds of these clones at a time, and whenever one falls off the parent -- which can happen with as little stimulus as a nice fat raindrop, once the clones are mature enough -- it will eagerly take root and grow. The mother-of-millions is aptly named: under the right conditions, it spreads like a leafy green wildfire.
|Tip of a B. daigremontianum leaf, plus 15 clones.|
Aww, look at their little bitty rootlets!
Image sources: Wikimedia Commons.
- Anna. 2006. Kalanchoe daigremontiana. Retrieved January 24th, 2011, from Wikimedia Commons: <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kalanchoe_daigremontiana.jpg>
- CrazyD. 2005. Bryophyllum daigremontianum nahaufnahme2. Retrieved January 24th, 2011, from Wikimedia Commons: <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bryophyllum_daigremontianum_nahaufnahme2.jpg>