Mother-of-millions - Bryophyllum species, usually turns up as an uninvited guest! This spectacular succulent never seems to leave, spreading throughout gardens and pots with ease.
Cultivated for its interesting form and unusual flowers, this hardy plant produces thousands of tiny “plantlets” along the edges of its leaves along with seeds from the flowers, meaning one plant can produce millions in a very short time. Seedlings sprout and survive in the thinnest of soils, growing happily amongst rocks and sand.
Mother of millions, Resurrection plant and their many hybrids originate from Africa and have spread around the world in the ornamental plant trade.
They are upright, succulent plants up to 1m in height with a brown-grey stem surrounded by whorls of pencil-shaped leaves. These leaves range from green to pale brown in colour, often with streaks or blotches along the surface. Young leaves have grooved edges which mature into tiny plantlets, ready to drop off and start new plants. Flowers are produced at the top of the plant from May to October, and appear as a cluster of orange-red tubular flowers hanging down around the stem. Related species and hybrids may have broader leaves and a range of colours.
Mother of millions is a highly toxic plant, capable of killing cattle and horses who graze on it. It is also toxic to humans and dogs. It spreads very easily via dumping and will quickly dominate disturbed areas with poor soil, including roadsides and is persistent on sand dunes.
Regular herbicide treatments are often ineffective due to the waxy surface and hand removal must be ongoing. Soil removal or fire can be used for control in extreme circumstances.