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Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Botanical Name

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana [1]


Kalanchoe globulifera Perr. var. coccinea Perr. [2]


Crassulaceae [1]

Vernacular Names

English Christmas kalanchoe, Flaming Katy  [1]



Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a member of the Crassulaceae family. It is a succulent, perennial, herbaceous plant that can reach a height to 30 cm. Leaves are oblong or ovate-oblong, crenate and often with red margins. Flowers are numerous, regular, bisexual and usually scarlet, but, colours may be variable based on cultivars. [2]


It is native of Madagascar. In Malaysia it is sold during Chinese New Year festivities.

Plant Use

Ornamental sold during Chinese New Year festival in Malaysia.

Toxic Parts

Whole plant [1]


Cardiotoxic bufadienolides which are C24 steroids of triterpenoid origin. [1]

Risk Management

This plant should be kept away from children for fear of poisoning. It can also affect pets and livestock. [3]

Clinical Findings

Within are few hours of ingestion, victims will experience depression, loss of interst in food and water, excessive salivation and diarrhoea. The diarrhoea would eventually become bloody and mucoid. There may be tachycardia, intermittent drooling and laboured respiration with expiratory grunting if sufficient plant material is consumed. [3]


Patients without symptoms should be decontaminated by inducing emesis and giving activated charcoal. This is followed by monitoring for the development of gastrointestinal signs. When they appear, they should be managed accordingly. Fluid replacement therapy may be necessary.

Cardiac arrhythmia is often present and should be treated accordingly viz. bradycardia with atropine and tachycardia with beta-blockers. Correction of electrolyte imbalance especially hyperkalaemia is important. Complications resulting from cardiac failure include pulmonary oedema, renal failure and ascites, should be treated when encountered. [1]


  1. Peterson ME., Walcott PA., Small Animal Toxicology Elsevier Saunders, St. Louispg. 652 – 653
  2. Hickey M., 100 Families of Flowering Plants, Cambridge University Press, Cambridgepg. 179
  3. Burrows GE., Tyrl RJ., Toxic Plants of North America John Wiley & Sons, Oxford 2001 pg. 380 - 384


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