Tour Our Destination Websites Montserrat-Today Site
See our silver designs at Read our travel stories and other tales at

Click below to see our plants alphabetically listed by common name with their cures and cooking ideas

Click for a list of my Special Pages

    Search for Latin names and more here!


Kaffir Lily, Clivia Clivia miniata
     A strap shaped leaf plant that has large lovely deep orange flowers or creamy yellow flowers as in the photographs. Kaffir lilies grow best in a lightly shaded area of the garden. It has two (or maybe more) forms. One has wide very deep green leaves and huge flowers once a year. The other has narrower leaves and less spectacular flowers.
     I had my first Kaffir lily many years ago, a toss away from a friend who had no interest in dealing with the mealy bugs that had made it home. I used cedar oil very successfully until I went overboard and killed the heart of the mother plant. Fortunately there were side shoots that I quickly planted. Unfortunately, they did absolutely nothing in a lovely sunny window for many months. One day I had truly had it with watering a one leafed plant. I threatened it out loud, saying that if in a week it didn't show some promise it was "going out."
     The very next day a new leaf appeared and this little plant became a huge luxuriant Kaffir lily that never failed to bloom. It lived for a while in a suburb of Washington, D.C., spending its summers on my terrace. My El Salvadoran neighbor, Paquita, a very frail old woman who spoke no English, walked over one day and motioning to the clivia, said with a sweet smile (in translation), "That is how we live, closely, all together."
Benefits: While the Kaffir lily is not edible and has no known medicinal uses, it does appear to clean the air. These days that is a great benefit indeed.
From: South America
Photographed: Below in the city gardens in Malaga, Spain, in 2012 and on the left at our hotel in the tiny beach side town of Mazunte on Oaxaca's wonderful Pacific coast.
To see a bit more of this coast on one of our travel web sites, please click here Scroll down till you get to a heading SIGHTS & SITES – OVERNIGHT EXCURSIONS FROM OAXACA.
Planting and Care: Kaffir lilies are pretty easy to care for. Inside or outside they like bright shade, rich soil and care not to be over watered.
Text and Photographs ©KO 2008/2010 and © 2012/2018
Kalanchoes are a huge family of plants, most of which prefer to live in bright sun with well draining soil and infrequent watering. I did the best I could at identifying those that I've come across in my travels, but if you see an error or have something to add, please get in touch (use the mail to link below). One of the features of most of these plants is that they have substantiated medicinal benefits along with being toxic to one degree or another. If you are giving thought to using one of them for treating an illness of some sort, please get in touch with your physician before doing so. You certainly don't want to do more harm than good if you are already ill.
Chandelier plant, Mother of Millions Kalanchoe tubiflora
Obviously, the two photographs of this plant were taken at different times of the year. On the right at the time of year that earned this little treasure its name.
Benefits: This and other kalanchoes have a long history of being used in traditional medicines.
From: Madagascar and tropical Africa.
Photographed: In the Botanical Garden at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care: Full sun and relatively scant water will keep the chandelier plant content. It will grow tiny plantlets at the tips of its stick like leaves which will keep you in good supply of new plants.
Warning: I have seen reports that this plant is poisonous for farm animals, pets, and for us as well. I have also seen reports that it is not toxic.
Text & Photographs ©KO 2010 and © 2012/2018

Devil's Backbone, Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, Mexican Hat Plant Kalanchoe daigremontiana Hamet & Perrier syn. Bryophyllum daigremontianum or Bryophyllum pinnatum
Benefits: Although it is considered highly toxic, it is used in many ways in traditional medicine.
From: Madagascar
Photographed: In the Botanical Garden at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care: As with other kalanchoes, this is an easy plant to grow. Plant it in very well draining soil to which you've added sand. Give it morning through noon sun, but avoid the hot late afternoon sun if you can. This is a plant that lives in tropical or sub-tropical climates. Water it sparingly and it will be very happy.
Warning: All parts of this plant are considered highly toxic.
Text and Photograph © 2018

Donkey's Ears, Life Plant, Palm Beachbells, Miracle Leaf, Tree of Life Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri, Bryophyllum gastonis-bonnieri, Kalanchoe adolphi-engleri
This is a rather large leaved form of kalanchoe. What you see in the photograph on the left are leaves about 3 or 4" long.
Photographed: In the Botanical Garden at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care: This plant will grow to be at least 2' tall and will need some space to the sides as well. It likes to be in bright semi shade and will do just fine with a somewhat restricted amount of water. It is not frost hardy.
Text & Photograph ©KO 2010 and © 2018

Elephant Ear Kalanchoe, Felt bush, Feltbush Kalanchoe beharensis
Photographed: In the Botanical Garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2011.
Planting and Care: This is a lovely and easy to grow member of the family. Reaching maturity it will be about 5 feet tall. Plant it in very well draining soil with a bit of sand. Give it full sun or a semi shady place in the garden if you live in a warm place. The elephant ear kalanchoe can handle light frost, but would prefer to be inside in any kind of real winter conditions.
Text & Photograph © 2012/2018


**Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe Kalanchoe blossfeldiana syn Kalanchoe globulifera var. coccinea
on the left is a photograph of this plant taken in December in our below deck garden where at that time of year it is in a bright, but shady area. In the photograph below on the right it is the same plant still flowering in late May when it was in full sun almost all day. Its leaves have taken on a bronze coloring and the entire plant is thriving.
Benefits: Kalanchoe are used extensively in traditional medicine. Please check with your physician before experimenting with any curative plants in traditional medicine.
Photographed: In our deck garden at our former home in Montserrat
Planting and Care:
Flaming Katy is a frost sensitive perennial that prefers direct sun in the morning and bright shade later in the day. It lives best in a well draining soil with rainfall or watering when the soil has had a chance to dry out. It will bloom for most of the year as you can see below.

Text and Photographs ©KO 2009/2010 and © 2018

Flapjack Kalanchoe, Desert Cabbage Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
I first found this beautiful plant at a small hotel where we took a much needed short break while driving from the city of Oaxaca to the coastline of the State of Oaxaca. Once leaving the city the drive was spectacular, but the road was narrow and the mountain switchbacks tiring. This stop along the way was yet one more lovely visual surprise that day. Years later I came across this lovely plant in Sydney, Australia, and was very pleased to get reacquainted.
From: Zimbabwe and South Africa
To the left in the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia, in 2013.

Text and Photographs ©KO 2010 and © 2014

To see a little more of this area of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, click here

Photographed: In the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia, in 2013.

Photographed: High in the mountains in San Jose Pacifico, in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Lavender Scallops, Kalanchoe Stonecrop, South American Air Plant, Gray Sedum Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi syn. Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi
Benefits: Lavender scallops is said to have healing powers in traditional medicine.
From: Madagascar
Photographed: In the Blithewold Garden in Bristol, Rhode Island 2013.
Planting and Care: Lavender scallops at maturity will be about 2 feet tall. Like most kalanchoes it likes full sun and a limited amount of water so it is especially easy to grow always remembering it likes a warm climate. It is quite stunning when in bloom.
Warning: Lavender scallops kalanchoe is toxic to animals.
Text and Photograph © 2013/2018

**Magic Tower Kalanchoe Kalanchoe serrata
This is a small succulent plant of a grayish green color. It has many small thin oval leaves on the edges of which form many very tiny round secondary "leaves" or plantlets. I find this plant uninteresting and thought I'd eradicated it from our cactus garden, but there it was growing again. I think it should be put into a succulent weed category.
Planting and Growth:
This little plant is a survivor. If you have one of those "black thumbs," this is a perfect plant for you! It will grow in the sun or in the shade with a bit of water now and then.
Text ©KO 2008 and © 2018

Marnier’s Kalanchoe Kalanchoe marnieriana H. Jacobsen syn. Bryophyllum marnierianum and Kalanchoe humbertii
This little treasure bloomed for months, but seemingly never produced a seed I could take away with me.
Probably used in traditional medicine although I did not see anything to that effect.
In the garden of our apartment in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Planting and Care:
This kalanchoe had been growing in a clay pot in a semi shady area for years. It was watered, but irregularly, and it didn't seem to matter. It is so easy to care for that it might almost be considered a weed if it weren't so pretty.
Warning: This plant is highly toxic especially when in bloom.
Text and Photograph © 2010/2018

Paddle Leaf Kalanchoe, Flapjacks, Red Pancakes, Desert Cabbage Kalanchoe luciae
Like the Flapjack Kalanchoe above this is an especially appealing member of the Kalanchoe family.
South Africa
Photographed: On the right at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in 2010.
Planting and Care: Plant in full sun in sandy well draining soil and give it a reasonable amount of water and the paddle leaf will be off and running. It is not a slow grower. It is easily mistaken for the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora which you can see above. The difference is mainly in the depth of the red on the leaves. The long stems arising from the paddle leaf bare tubular yellow flowers.
Warning: The paddle leaf kalanchoe is poisonous to animals.

Text and Photograph © 2010/2018

Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.

Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.

**Penwiper Plant Kalanchoe marmorata, Kalanchoe grandiflora
This kalanchoe has lovely gray/green leaves with a purple mottling making them very decorative as is. But, as an additional treat it has relatively large white lily like flowers at some time during the year.
East Africa

At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.

Planting and Care: The penwiper plant likes to live in the hot sun of places like the Canary Islands and it does so with relatively little water. Plant it in fast draining soil. Adding to the wonders of this beauty is that it is salt tolerant and will do fine living near the sea. All in all, this is a lovely plant that is especially easy to care for.
Text and Photograph © 2018

Pussy Ears, Panda Plant, Chocolate Soldier Kalanchoe tomentosa
This furry plant is striking even in a garden of other unusual plants.

Benefits: The Kalanchoe tomentosa is said to have medicinal benefits, but do speak to your physician before using any part of this plant.
From: Madagascar
In the Botanical Garden at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care: Like other kalanchoes, this one prefers full sun and only a moderate amount of water. It will grow to be around 1.5 feet when mature. It will do well as a houseplant because it is tolerant of dry air.
Warning: Pussy Ears is poisonous for cats & dogs.
Text and Photograph © 2010/2018

**Kale Brassica oleracea
This is a pretty plant growing no more than about a foot high and wide. Its gray/green crinkled foliage is very attractive so it makes a great border planting along the side of walkways.
Kale is now touted as THE vegetable that will save your life, no matter what ails you. I'm not sure I agree with the hyperbole, but it is nutritious and has a great hearty flavor which makes it a perfect addition to winter stews. Be sure to eat ONLY ORGANIC KALE. Having grown it myself in gardens in New England and in the tropics, I know how many pesticides are probably used on commercial kale crops. It is best to take no chances especially when you are eating for your health.

Kale is loaded with vitamins B, K and A and " high in lutein and zeaxanthin" which may help to keep your eyes sharp. As if all of this weren't enough, kale is also a good source of manganese. If you like it, have it often. It's easy to cook and it's delicious.
From: Unknown
Planting and Care: As is usual for vegetables, give it several hours of sunlight and a rich moist soil and it will do just fine.
Text and Photographs © 2014/2018

Photographed: In our garden at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Photographed: At the URI Outreach Center in Roger Williams Park, Providence, RI, in 2013.

**Kalihari in India See The "S" Page -- SUPERB LILY

Kapok Tree, Silk Cotton Tree, Ceiba Tree, Java Cotton, Java Kapok Ceiba pentandra
This stunning tree will grow as tall as 240 feet with a trunk measuring about 10 feet in diameter. It also has large buttressing to stabilize it as it grows. The trunk and larger branches at the top of the tree are covered with thorns.
Benefits: Its pods are a source of the cottony material once used in life preservers as it is water repellant. In past days it was also used to stuff mattresses and pillows.
Beginning in May and lasting into June in Montserrat the feathery fluffy seeds fly through the air and sometimes floated on our pool water. It is a magical time that I'm sure the person caring for the pool would describe another way.
From: Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and tropical west Africa
Beside the road in Montserrat.
Planting and Care: This is a tropical tree and one of the tallest in the world so you would best talk with folks in the agriculture department at your local university or college. Making sure this tree gets off to a good start is very important.
Text and Photographs ©KO 2008 and © 2018

Please also see the S Page -- Silk Floss Tree
**Key Lime Tree See The "L" Page -- LIME TREE
King's Mantle See the "T" Page -- THUNBERGIA -- King's Mantle
Kiwifruit, Chinese Gooseberry Probably this one is A. deliciosa
Oddly enough, the kiwi fruit grows on a vine, not a tree. This probably means you can have the fruit much more quickly than if you have to plant a tree.
Benefits: Having a kiwi now and then will certainly not hurt you. These fruits are delicious and a great source of Vitamin C.
From: China
In the (Ortobotanico) Botanical Garden in Naples, Italy, in 2014.

Planting and Care: Kiwifruit vines are not particularly strong so they are usually trailed over a support system. They will grow in any temperate climate, but prefer a warm and sunny summer. This is probably not a perfect fruit for the home gardener as it is very difficult to pollinate, even when you are lucky enough to have both a male and female plant.
Text ©KO 2008 and © 2015/2018
Kniphofia, Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily, Knofflers, Poker Plant Kniphofia
There are many varieties of this plant which has red, orange and yellow fleshy flowers which grow on a spike with blooms arriving normally in late summer. It is one of my husband's favorites!
Benefits: Kniphofia is loved by hummingbirds and bees.
Taken of market flowers in Oaxaca, Mexico.
To see more of the city visit our travelers information site,
Planting and Growth: Kniphofia like to live in well draining soil in full sun with a moderate amount of water. They are tough plants that will survive without assistance during times of drought. Kniphofia do not like to be moved so think ahead before you plant one.
Kniphofias are toxic if eaten and can cause skin and eye irritations as well.
Text and Photograph ©KO 2008/2010 and © 2018

Knotweed, Pink Clover, Pinkhead Smartweed, Pinkhead Knotweed, Pink Knotweed Polygonum capitatum
This makes an ideal decorative addition to stone walls or walkways. It is oddly appealing and very un-intrusive.
Benefits: Deer don't tend to bother with this plant.
In the Botanical Garden at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care: This very small low and fast growing perennial will do fine planted in a loamy fertile well draining soil in full sun. It does well with only a moderate amount of water.
Text and Photograph ©KO 2010 and © 2018


 Click links to see our plants alphabetically listed by common name,
Click here for a list of my Special Pages

the search engine
© 2019 All rights reserved