Christmas Tree Plant   
Foto info
Christmas Tree Plant
P Native Unknown Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Christmas Tree Plant
Botanical name: Kalanchoe laciniata    Family: Crassulaceae (Sedum family)
Synonyms: Kalanchoe gracilis, Kalanchoe macrosepala, Kalanchoe brachycalyx

Christmas Tree Plant is a short-lived perennial, or possibly sometimes biennial, erect plant that can grow up to 1.2 meter tall when flowering. The fleshy stem is usually unbranched, it dies back to a large, underground tuber in dry conditions. The fleshy ovate-elliptical, pinnately cut, 8-15 cm long, with the lobes distant, spreading, nearly entire, toothed or somewhat lobed and lanceshaped, and few. The mid-green leaves are up to 15 cm long. Inflorescence is at branch-ends and stalked. Flowers are greenish-yellow to light orange, tubular, up to 1.5 cm long. Sepals are green and lanceshaped. Limb of the flower is spreading, and about 2 cm in diameter, with lanceshaped petals. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is decorative and worthy of horticultural cultivation. Christmas Tree Plant is found in Tropical east Africa, through the Arabian Peninsula, South India, Thailand.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are considered antipruritic, antiseptic, astringent, emollient and styptic. They are taken internally for the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, lithiasis and phthisis. Applied topically, the leaves are said to be good for cleaning ulcers and allaying inflammation; to stem bleeding on fresh cuts and abrasions; and as a poultice they are used for purposes such as relieving venomous insect-bites, applied to the chest to relieve coughs and colds and on the head to ease a headache. The leaf is applied in frictions for the relief of itch. They are made into a lotion for soothing small-pox.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Sigur Plateau, Tamil Nadu.

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