mother of millions hybrid

Bryophyllum x houghtonii
Succulent
Alternate
Simple
Red
Variegated

A fleshy herbaceous plant with upright (i.e. erect) stems usually growing 30-180 cm tall. Its mottled leaves are distinctively boat-shaped, with many small teeth along their margins. Tiny plantlets are often produced along the edges of its leaves. Its drooping bell-shaped flowers (2-4 cm long) are bright red or reddish-pink in colour. These flowers are borne in dense clusters at the top of its stems.

Common names 
Also known as: hybrid mother-of-millions, coconut plant, crossbred mother of millions, devil's backbone, good luck plant, hybrid life plant,
Family 
Crassulaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Year round
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
A hybrid (possibly of horticultural origin) of two species that are both native to Madagascar.
Notifiable 
No
State declaration 
Category 3 - Must not be distributed or disposed. This means it must not be released into the environment unless the distribution or disposal is authorised in a regulation or under a permit.
Council declaration 
As per State Declaration
Known distribution 

Widely naturalised in eastern Australia (i.e. throughout Queensland and in some parts of New South Wales). It is most prevalent in the coastal and sub-coastal districts of Queensland, from the New South Wales border north to Townsville. Also recently recorded as naturalised in Victoria and in the Northern Territory. Because this hybrid is so similar to mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum delagoense), its distribution in Australia is probably underestimated.

Habitat 

A weed of pastures, open woodlands, disturbed sites, roadsides, fencelines, embankments, waste areas, coastal environs and gardens in sub-tropical, semi-arid, tropical and warmer temperate regions.

Habit 

A long-lived (i.e. perennial), fleshy (i.e. succulent) plant with upright (i.e. erect) stems usually growing 30-180 cm tall.

Impact and control methods 

Hybrid mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum x houghtonii) is regarded an environmental weed in Queensland and New South Wales. It is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. The Act requires that all sightings of it be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours. By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of it spreading until they receive advice from an authorised officer. This hybrid is ecologically very similar to mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum delagoense), occupying the same sorts of habitats and causing the same negative environmental impacts. It forms dense infestations in grasslands and open woodlands in inland regions and also invades coastal habitats.

Stem and leaves 

The fleshy (i.e. succulent), upright (i.e. erect), and rounded stems are usually unbranched (except for in the inflorescence). They are grey, greyish-green or pinkish-grey in colour and hairless (i.e. glabrous). The fleshy (i.e. succulent) leaves are distinctively folded or boat-shaped (40-80 mm long and 8-20 mm wide), with many small notches or teeth located along their margins. These leaves are borne on almost rounded stalks (i.e. sub-cylindrical petioles) that are 10-25 mm long. Plantlets are often produced in the teeth (i.e. marginal notches) of these leaves. The leaves, and sometimes also the stems, are variegated with a darker coloured mottling.

Flowers and fruits 

The bell-shaped (i.e. tubular) flowers (2-4 cm long) are red, orange-red or pinkish-red in colour and have four petals that are fused for most of their length (i.e. into a corolla tube). They are drooping (i.e. pendulous) and grouped into tightly branched clusters at the top of the stems (i.e. in terminal corymbose inflorescences). These flowers also have four partially fused greyish coloured sepals (about 5-13 mm long), four styles and eight stamens. Flowering occurs mainly during winter and early spring. The dry, papery fruit is a 'follicle' (about 10 mm long) which remains enclosed in the old flower parts. It is deeply-divided into four sections (i.e. carpels) and contains numerous minute seeds. This hybrid will sometimes also produce plantlets from vegetative buds that form on the branches of the old flower clusters.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This hybrid reproduces by seed and also vegetatively via tiny plantlets that are produced along the edges of its fleshy (i.e. succulent) leaves and also on the branches of its old flower clusters. Dislodged leaves, or broken leaf parts, can also take root and give rise to new plants. Vegetative plant parts and seeds are commonly spread in dumped garden waste. Its very fine seeds are probably also wind and water dispersed and its leaves and plantlets may also be dislodged and spread by animals, vehicles, machinery and slashers.

Similar species 

Hybrid mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum x houghtonii) is very similar to mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum delagoense) and mother-of-thousands (Bryophyllum daigremontianum). It is also relatively similar to Resurrection plant (Bryophyllum pinnatum), Prolific mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum proliferum) and Lavender scallops (Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi). These species can be distinguished by the following differences: Mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum delagoense) has relatively small cylindrical (i.e. terete) leaves (usually less than 10 cm long and only 2-6 mm wide) that are always simple. These leaves are greyish in colour with some darker patches (i.e. they are variegated) and have a few teeth at their tips (i.e. apical notches). Hybrid mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum x houghtonii) has relatively small boat-shaped or folded leaves (4-8 cm long and 8-20 mm wide) that are always simple. These leaves are greyish or greyish-green in colour with some darker patches (i.e. they are variegated) and have numerous teeth along their margins (i.e. marginal notches). Mother-of-thousands (Bryophyllum daigremontianum) has relatively large boat-shaped or folded leaves (often more than 10 cm long and 25 mm wide) that are always simple. These leaves are greyish-green in colour with some darker patches (i.e. they are variegated) and have numerous teeth along their margins (i.e. marginal notches). Resurrection plant (Bryophyllum pinnatum) has large, broad, flattened, leaves (5-25 cm long and 20-125 mm wide) that are often compound (i.e. trifoliate or pinnate). These leaves are usually bright green or light green in colour have numerous blunt teeth along their margins (i.e. they are crenate). Prolific mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum proliferum) has relatively large compound (i.e. pinnate) leaves with 7-11 leaflets (7-5-15 cm long and about 3.5 cm wide). These greenish-coloured leaflets are somewhat elongated in shape, flattened, and have numerous blunt teeth along their margins (i.e. they are crenate). Lavender scallops (Bryophyllum fedtschenkoi) has small, broad, flattened, leaves (12-50 mm long and 8-25 mm wide) that are always simple. These leaves are usually bluish-green or purplish-green in colour and have numerous reddish-brown coloured blunt teeth along their margins (i.e. they are crenate). Cotyledon (Cotyledon orbiculata) is also relatively similar to mother of millions (Bryophyllum delagoense). However, this species can be distinguished by its much broader, green or greyish, leaves that usually have a reddish-coloured margin.