|Vegetative reproduction in the "Air Plant", Bryophyllum pinnatum|
Bryophyllum pinnatum, also known as the Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, and Goethe Plant is a succulent plant native to Madagascar, which is a popular houseplant and has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean. It is distinctive for the profusion of miniature plantlets that form on the margins of its leaves, a trait it has in common with the other members of the genus Bryophyllum.
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Distribution and introduction
Bryophyllum pinnatum has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Macaronesia, Mascarenes, Galapagos, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii. In many of these, such as Hawaii, it is regarded as an invasive species. It is also widely distributed in the Philippines and it is known as katakataka or kataka-taka which is also an adjective meaning astonishing or remarkable.
Much of the reason for the widespread naturalization of this plant can be traced to its popularity as a garden plant. The writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - who also was an amateur naturalist of some repute - was "passionately fond" of this plant and liked to give the baby plantlets as gifts to friends who visited his home. He also discussed his air plant at length in an essay titled Geschichte meiner botanischen Studien ("History of my botanical studies").
Taxonomy and nomenclature
Subspecies and hybrids
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Vernacular names for Bryophyllum pinnatum include Cathedral Bells, Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant and the Katakataka. The first two of these are also commonly names for plants of other species and genera. It is also called "Leaf of Life" and "Wonder of the World" in the English speaking Caribbean.
Toxicity and traditional medicine
In common with other Crassulaceae (such as the genera Tylecodon, Cotyledon and Adromischus), Bryophyllum pinnatum has been found to contain bufadienolide cardiac glycosides These can cause cardiac poisoning, particularly in grazing animals.
In traditional medicine, "Kalanchoe" species[clarification needed] have been used to treat ailments such as infections, rheumatism and inflammation. Bryophyllum pinnatum has been recorded in Trinidad and Tobago as being used as a traditional treatment for hypertension and for the treatment of kidney stones in India where it goes by the name of Pather Chat or Paan-futti.It can miraculously reduce pain due to renal stone.
In Jamaica the juice of the leaf of life is used to treat colds and coughs. The juice is sometimes mixed with salt or honey, for headaches, colds and bronchial problems and hypertension.
The heated leaves can be applied externally for abscesses and swellings. Similar use is made of leaf of life in Africa, where it is also used for earaches, eye problems and as a diuretic.
In the Eastern Caribbean leaf of life is used as a tea for colds and the juice used externally for sores or to apply to a headache. In Brazil, leaf of life is used for respiratory problems from asthma to bronchitis. It is also used to treat kidney stones and gastric ulcers and externally for boils, burns, ulcers, insect bites and eye infections.
Bufadienolide compounds isolated from Bryophyllum pinnatum include bryophillin A which showed strong anti-tumor promoting activity, and bersaldegenin-3-acetate and bryophillin C which were less active. Bryophillin C also showed insecticidal properties.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- "Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.". USDA GRIN Taxonomy for Plants. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "Kalanchoe pinnata". Hawaii's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "Katakataka". Philippine Medicinal Plants. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- "Kataka-taka". Filipino Herbs Healing Wonders. Retrieved 2008-11-20.[dead link]
- "Katakataka". Tagalog English Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Steyn, Pieter S; van Heerden, Fanie R. (1998). "Bufadienolides of plant and animal origin". Natural Product Reports. Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- McKenzie RA, Dunster PJ (July 1986). "Hearts and flowers: Bryophyllum poisoning of cattle". Aust. Vet. J. 63 (7): 222–7. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.1986.tb03000.x. PMID 3778371.
- McKenzie RA, Franke FP, Dunster PJ (October 1987). "The toxicity to cattle and bufadienolide content of six Bryophyllum species". Aust. Vet. J. 64 (10): 298–301. doi:10.1111/j.1751-0813.1987.tb07330.x. PMID 3439945.
- Lans CA (2006). "Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus". J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2: 45. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-45. PMC 1624823. PMID 17040567.
- Supratman U, Fujita T, Akiyama K et al. (April 2001). "Anti-tumor promoting activity of bufadienolides from Kalanchoe pinnata and K. daigremontiana x tubiflora" (PDF). Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 65 (4): 947–9. doi:10.1271/bbb.65.947. PMID 11388478.
- Supratman U, Fujita T, Akiyama K, Hayashi H (June 2000). "New insecticidal bufadienolide, bryophyllin C, from Kalanchoe pinnata" (PDF). Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 64 (6): 1310–2. doi:10.1271/bbb.64.1310. PMID 10923811.