Air Plant
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Air Plant
aturalized elliptic Photo: N Arun Kumar
Common name: Air Plant, Donkey Ears, Life Plant, Leaf of Life, Resurrection Plant, Canterbury Bells, Cathedral Bells, Mexican Love Plant, Floppers • Hindi: Amar poi अमर पोई • Malayalam: Elamarunna • Tamil: Runakkalli • Bengali: Kop pata • Urdu: Zakhmhaiyat ज़ख़्महयात • Manipuri: ꯃꯅꯥꯍꯤꯗꯥꯛ মনাহিদাক Manahidak • Mizo: Hnahchhah
Botanical name: Kalanchoe pinnata    Family: Crassulaceae (Sedum family)
Synonyms: Crassula pinnata, Bryophyllum calycinum, Bryophyllum pinnatum

Air Plant is a fleshy, perennial plant, about 1 m tall, with fleshy cylindrical stems and young growth of a reddish tinge. Leaves are thick, fleshy, elliptical, curved, with a rounded toothed or sawtoothed margin, often reddish. Simple at the base of the stem, the leaves are compound at the top, 10-30 cm long, with three to five pairs of fleshy limb lobes. The leaves are remarkable in that at their margin, between the teeth, adventitious buds appear, which produce roots, stems and leaves. When the plantlets fall to the ground, they root and can become new plants. The flower-cluster at the top is a panicle, with many hanging, red-orange flowers. The sepal-cup is formed of a long tube, red at the base, veined with yellowish green (or green spotted with reddish brown), with four very small triangular lobes at the end. The tubular flower, with a pronounced constriction separating the subspherical part of the ovoid part, is terminated by four lobes which reaches 5 cm. It is yellowish in color with red-purple streaks. Eight stamens are about 4 cm long. Air Plant is native to Madagascar, now naturalized in the Tropical World.
Medicinal uses: Bahamians call it Life Leaf or Ploppers. In the Bahamas it is mostly used for Asthma or shortness in breath.

Identification credit: N Arun Kumar Photographed in cultivation.

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