Widows thrill plant: Classification, Distribution, Botanical Description, Propagation, Chemical Phytoconstituents, and Uses

Widows Thrill Plant: Classification, Distribution, Botanical Description, Propagation, Chemical Phytoconstituents, and Uses


The ornamental plant Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, 2n=34), sometimes known as the Panda plant, is a member of the Crassulaceae family and is grown in pots all over the world (Ofokansi et al., 2005; Nahar et al., 2008). In 1763, Michel Adanson published the first description of the approximately 130 species of annual and perennial shrubs, climbers, and small trees that make up the genus Kalanchoe.

Kalanchoe Red Thick leaf Plant

The species is distinguished by a significant concentration of cardiac glycosides. As a result, it is becoming more significant in medicine and pharmacy. Recent research suggests that Kalanchoe, which has a high concentration of metabolites with antimitotic action, may be useful in the treatment of cancer (Garces et al., 2009). Additionally, it is employed in the treatment of burns, allergies, and skin conditions (Hsieh et al., 2013). Since kalanchoe grows slowly, it is crucial to create a tissue culture method for its quick production for both commercial and therapeutic uses. The development of biotechnological techniques to enhance the production of this plant in-vitro is of great interest due to its therapeutic relevance and potential to produce value-added secondary metabolites in tissue culture (Khan et al., 2006). Although leaf and stem cuttings are an easy way to multiply kalanchoe, this method is slow and inefficient, frequently producing low-quality plants. For the first time, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana regeneration was reported by Bhuiyan et al. (2005), resulting in quick replication of high-quality plants. In-vitro propagation is vital for the quick generation of plants of the highest grade (Ioannou et al., 1992; Frello et al., 2002; Khan et al., 2006; Sanikhani et al., 2006)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Saxifragales

Family: Crassulaceae

Genus: Kalanchoe

Species: K. blossfeldiana

Common Names: Widow’s-thrill, Christmas kalanchoe, Flaming Katy.  


According to Allorge-Boiteau et al. (1996), the species of Kalanchoe are predominantly found in China and south-eastern Asia. A stunning succulent plant called kalanchoe has a thick, white coating that resembles hairs. It is typically grown as a novelty gift or as a garden ornament in gardens with rocks and sand that have medium humidity (Brito and Brito, 1993).

In Africa, Madagascar, Australia, Asia, and tropical America, 130 species of Kalanchoe grow in sub-desert regions (Khan et al., 2006). Important potted plants for cheap are the several kalanchoe species (Currey and Erwin, 2011).

Succulents of the family ‘Kalanchoe’ (Crassulaceae) are often grown as houseplants and garden plants in tropical and subtropical climates.

Botanical Description

1. One of the most common potted flowering plants used in greenhouse agricultural production is Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. The popularity of kalanchoes is due to several factors. First, kalanchoe cuttings with succulent stem tips are rather simple to grow. Flowering may be easily scheduled and programmed.

2. Since kalanchoes are short-day plants, they only bloom when the day is 12 hours or less.

3. Several other Kalanchoe species are cultivated in pots, although they are grown for their leaves rather than their blooms. While K. behariensis and K. tomentosa are used as indoor plants, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, sometimes known as flapjacks, is grown for its huge, vivid leaves and coarse texture for use in landscapes and pots.

4. The root is said to have red root tips that are tinted by an anthocyanin pigment and are made more intense by bright light.

5. The well-developed parenchymatous or collenchymatous tissues of the cortex and pith give the stem its fleshy appearance.

6. In other genera, cork can be sub-epidermal or even more deeply seated, becoming impregnated with resin and forming a thick layer capable of decreasing evaporation in certain species of Kalanchoe from Madagascar, specifically K. crenata. Cork typically consists of thin-walled cells that arise in the epidermis, but this is not always the case.

7. The leaf is typically central or intermediate between dorsiventral and centric, typical palisade tissue is uncommon, opposite or alternate, and exstipulate. A bluish-white layer of wax generated by the epidermis is frequently present on the leaf surface. Typically, the epidermis is made up of cells that are extended transversely to the leaf’s longitudinal axis; a few species also have papillosed epidermis cells.

8. The flowers are bisexual, occasionally unisexual then dioecious, actinomorphic, 3- 4- to 5-merous, sepals free or united into a tube, persistent, petals as many as the sepals, free or united

9. Stamens hypogynous or epipetalous, as many as the petals or twice as many; filaments free or adnate to the petals; and scale-like nectaries that are typically present between the stamens and carpel Superior, equally as many as the petals, monolocular, free or slightly connate at the base; many ovules; short or elongate styles

10. The flowers are typically grouped in lateral cymes or cymose inflorescences at the end of leaf shoots. They either form monochasia exclusively or dichasia with a propensity to transition toward it. Racemes, corymbs, umbels, and panicles are common arrangements for dichasia and monochasia.

11. The follicular fruit has tiny, elongated seeds, a straight embryo, and endosperm.

12. Large and frequently showy terminal paniculate cymes; calyx divided into four narrow lobes that are shorter than the corolla tube and typically fall early; corolla divided into four segments that are largely spreading; eight stamens; and four carpels.

13. Hairs are often scarce, but numerous forms have been observed, including biseriate hairs, which form a cobweb-like surface to the leaf, three-armed, pointed hairs, and glandular hairs with short or long stalks, and bladder-like hairs that are occasionally described as epidermal cells.

14. All areas of the leaf’s surface have stomata, which are girded by a ring of three secondary cells.

15. Hydathodes, which are tiny pits or spots that can be seen with the unaided eye on the leaf, are distributed differently in different species, sometimes covering both surfaces equally, other times being limited to one surface or being arranged in rows near the leaf margin on both surfaces equally, other times being only on the lower surface.

16. Unlignified tissues frequently include secretory cells, especially near veins, with apparent tanniniferous contents; these cells seldom show morphological differentiation from nearby cells. crystals that are typically found alone, in groups, or as sphaerites and crystal sand.

17. The cortex is fully formed, fleshy, and either entirely or partially made up of parenchyma. In several genera, there are central, sometimes many cortical bundles containing xylem at the centre.

18. Poorly formed phloem, comprising small, difficult-to-see sieve tubes. Xylem is almost invariably in the shape of a continuous cylinder and is only very infrequently divided by wide rays.


The Kalanchoe species were multiplied by seed, a method that is time-consuming and has variable genetic characteristics (Sanikhani et al., 2006). Although Kalanchoe species can be multiplied by removing leaves and stems, the techniques cannot generate enough plants to meet the demand for commercialization (Ioannou and Ioannou, 1992). In recent years, the technique of plant tissue culture has become popular for plant propagation, notably with the Kalanchoe species (e.g. Sanikhani et al., 2006; Ioannou and Ioannou, 1992).

Small parts (explants) of stock plants can be micropropagated using tissue culture to regenerate huge numbers of disease-free plants in a brief amount of time without seasonal limitations (Preil et al., 1988).

Chemical Phytoconstituents

Several chemicals have been extracted and named by various authors from various Kalanchoe species. These substances can be divided into several classes, including sterols, fatty acids, coumarins, bufadienlolides, triterpenoids, phenanthrenes, and kalanchosine dimalate salt.

Ethnomedicinal Uses

In Brazil, bug bites, ear infections, diarrhoea, bruises, wounds, boils, fever, abscesses, coughs, skin illnesses and cytotoxic activities, cholera, urinary disorders, whitlow in Africa and Asia, tissue injuries in Taiwan, arthritis, and gastric ulcers are all locally treated with kalanchoe juice. In Africa, crushed leaves are applied topically or tied to the head to relieve headaches. In Indonesia, crushed leaves are used to treat rheumatism as well as lung infections, rheumatoid arthritis, immunomodulatory conditions, and gastric ulcers.

Toxicity of Kalanchoe

The bufadienolides present in Bryophyllum (Kalanchoe) species are poisonous to farm animals, including cattle. Anorexia, sadness, ruminal atony, diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, dyspnea, and mortality are all symptoms of bryophyllum toxicity. Heart and gastrointestinal tract haemorrhages as well as myocardial degeneration and necrosis have been seen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What does “widows thrill plant” mean?

Ans: It denotes blossoms with bright colours.

Question: How do you take care of a widow’s thrill?

Ans: 1. There is more light in the winter and less in the summer.

2. Between 65 and 75 degrees temperature

3. Succulent soil

4. Watering should only be done every two weeks.

5. Leaf and stem cuttings for reproduction

Question: Is a kalanchoe an indoor plant or outdoor?

Ans: Mostly Indoor but a few also grow as outdoor plants

Question: Does Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana need sunlight?

Ans: Yes

Question: How long do kalanchoe plants live?

Ans: About Six or Seven Years

Question: How long do kalanchoe flowers last?

Ans: About Eight Weeks

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