Kalanchoe luciae “Oricula”


Kalanchoe “Oricula”


K. luciae “Oricula” is a mutation of K. luciae. K. luciae is native to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and grows on granite outcrops in savannas and woods.


Kalanchoe luciae “Oricula” is a mutation of K. luciae, discovered by the botanist Ron Van Leeuwen. Unlike in the regular form, the variation “Oricula” has oddly rolled-up leaves that almost look like tongues. The name “Oricula”, in fact, is due to the resemblance of this plant’s leaves to some kind of strange rabbit’s ears. They have in fact a narrowed base, enlarging and rolling up toward the top. Their colour ranges from bright green to reddish, depending on the light conditions under which the plant grows. K. luciae consists in a single rosette of these odd leaves. It looks actually more like an untidy bunch of leaves, growing in all directions, than a regular rosette. In the regular form, K. luciae, the rosettes is rather more tidy and the leaves are completely flattened: the two varieties, however, share the bright green colour, tinged in red towards the leaves edges. In the variety “Oricula”, the stem is extremely reduced or either absent. In good growing condition, K. luciae “Oricula” can reach a height of 60 centimeters! Like in the regular form “Luciae”, the inflorescence is borne by an elongated, succulent stem, coated with a white pruine and equipped with regularly spaced pairs of succulent bracteas (leaf-like organs, that, in this species in particular, look like leaves). It’s called a thyrse. In botany, a thyrse is a type of inflorescence in which the main axis grows indeterminately, and the subaxes (branches) have determinate (finite) growth, resulting in compact structures, densely crowded with flowers, like the ones of lilacs. The single flowers, instead, are erect, shortly peduncolated, white to pale-greenish yellow. They appear in late Winter/early Spring.


K. luciae “Oricula” is a tough plant, not difficult to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:

Put it in a bright spot, exposed to direct sunlight. It will also thrive in partial shade. An optimal solution could be to place it in a bright spot but to keep it away from direct sunlight during the hottest hours of summer days.
K. luciae “Oricula” can stand short frosts, down to -2ºC, if its substrate is maintained completely dry. However, it is preferable to keep it always at a temperature above 8 °C. In Winter, we advice to put it indoors or either shelter it.
Water it moderately and regularly in Spring and Autumn. In Summer, be careful, as it should be watered more sparingly and always waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. In Winter, water it only occasionally, when it starts to shrivel.
Choose a well-draining substrate: even better if further enriched with inert materials such as pumice, sand or lapilli.
K. luciae “Oricula” doesn’t need frequent fertilization, it is sufficient to dilute the fertilizer with watering once a year.
Repot it once a year, in Spring, as this succulent shows a medium growth rate and will spread through its numerous lateral clumps.


The propagation of K. luciae “Oricula” is usually carried out through the removal and replantation of its many offsets at the base of the mother plant. You might also try with leaves cuttings in May and June.


K. luciae “Oricula” is often wrongly deemed to be a mutation of K. thyrsiflora. Also, the regular form “Luciae” itself is often confused with the species “thyrsiflora”. They actually share the thyrse-like inflorescence.
This plant is used in traditional medicine. The Sotho people use it as a charm to smooth away difficulties, and sometimes given, in medicine, to pregnant women who don’t feel well. The Xhosa people use it to treat earache and colds. It is also used to make anthelmintic enemas. Please note that this plant is toxic to sheep and can have harmful effects on people, and should be used with caution.

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