Kalanchoe schimperiana is a leafy succulent, less commonly cultivated than other species in this genus, appreciated for its attractive flowers in early spring.
About this species
Kalanchoe is a tropical, succulent plant genus from Africa and Madagascar and was first described by the French botanist Michel Adanson (1727-1806), who worked extensively on the African flora.
Kalanchoe schimperiana was first described in 1848 by Achille Richard (1794-1852), who attempted a flora of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). The specific name commemorates the German botanist, Georg Heinrich Wilhelm Schimper (1804-1878), who lived in Ethiopia from 1836 onwards.
Geography & Distribution
Kalanchoe schimperiana is found in eastern and north-eastern tropical Africa: in Eritrea, Ethiopia (Galla Highlands and Adowa district), eastern Tanzania and Yemen.
This leafy, succulent shrub can grow up to 100 cm high. Its fleshy green leaves are opposite, ovate and slightly hairy on both surfaces and grow up to 12 cm long. Flowers are 7.5–9.0 cm long with a green tube and white lobes and carried in a central cluster in February and March. The seeds are dark brown or black.
Illustration from Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Illustration of Kalanchoe schimperiana by an unknown artist (1941), taken from Curtis's Botanical Magazine (Image: RBG Kew)
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (Editor: Martyn Rix) provides an international forum of particular interest to botanists and horticulturists, plant ecologists and those with a special interest in botanical illustration.
Now well over two hundred years old, the Magazine is the longest running botanical periodical featuring colour illustrations of plants. Each four-part volume contains 24 plant portraits reproduced from watercolour originals by leading international botanical artists. Detailed but accessible articles combine horticultural and botanical information, history, conservation and economic uses of the plants described.
Published for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
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Threats & Conservation
Kalanchoe schimperiana was formerly published as Rare (R) in 1992 (and re-published as such in 1998) according to earlier IUCN criteria. It has not been re-evaluated according to current IUCN Red List criteria.
Kalanchoe schimperiana is grown as an ornamental.
Several species of Kalanchoe are grown as conservatory plants in northern Europe, but Kalanchoe schimperiana is less commonly cultivated than most. It is appreciated for its attractive flowers in the early spring. Propagation is by seeds or cuttings taken in spring.
This species at Kew
Kalanchoe schimperiana is growing in the Princess of Wales Conservatory in the dry climate section.
Pressed and dried, and alcohol-preserved specimens of Kalanchoe schimperiana are held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of some of these, including images, can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.
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