What is the name of this plant?
April 6, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Please identify a plant for me given this description:

I first saw it in Hawaii (I have no idea if it's native there), and it's currently on exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, but it is completely impossible to find anything on their hideously designed website.

The plant reproduces in a very unique way- the periphery of the leaves of the plant develop (I think) clone offshoots that, when the leaf falls off the plant and to the ground, take root and start a new plant. The leaves and stalk are fleshy and the plant definitely grows quickly.

If you managed to find it via a google search, please let me know what words you used so that I can help improve my own google-fu.
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Is it something like a spider plant? (there are quite a few varieties, so it may not necessarily look like this picture). Even if it isn't it, is that the sort of reproduction you are talking about?
posted by AnnaRat at 9:45 PM on April 6, 2006

Perhaps a Brylophyllum?
posted by stefanie at 9:52 PM on April 6, 2006

Same principle of reproduction- baby plants are identical clones of the parent plant- but entirely different method. The baby plants grow on the edge of the leaves and the leaf actually falls off of the main plant. The baby plants put down roots and sprout.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:53 PM on April 6, 2006

Oh, woo! Yes, Stefanie, I'm pretty sure that's it.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:53 PM on April 6, 2006

oops... make that Bryophyllum, not Brylophyllum.
posted by stefanie at 9:55 PM on April 6, 2006

You are awesome and MeFi is awesome. AnnaRat, thanks for trying anyway!
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:59 PM on April 6, 2006

Could it be a Bryophyllum or Kalanchoe (they're the same type of plants, the genus is being debated)? Some leaf pix of different species are here, the photo section of the site has a lot more images. Some sites say they're all native to Madagascar, the Wikipedia article says Madagascar, South Africa and Asia. (Most of what you see growing in Hawaii is not native to the islands.)

I can't give you many google-fu hints; I remembered "Mother of Thousands" as one common name for the plants and searched on that. "Plantlets" and "Viviparous" show up in many descriptions, but I don't think they are specific enough to take you right there. It's a place to start if the plant you're think of aren't these.

On preview -- what stefanie said.
posted by jonzino at 10:13 PM on April 6, 2006

my mother called it a "mother of thosands"
posted by Infernarl at 11:36 PM on April 6, 2006

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