ISI 2016-14. Kalanchoe ‘Kewensis’ W. T. Dyer

This unusual hybrid has been in cultivation for many decades yet is surprisingly uncommon in collections. The epithet commemorates that world-renowned English institution, the Kew Botanical Gardens, where this hybrid was made in 1901 and subsequently named and distributed. Unfortunately, the horticulturist who did the deed was not credited. According to B. Descoings (in the Illustrated Handbook for Succulent Plants, 2003), the hybrid “is remarkable by showing characters not present in either of the parents”. The parentage is K. glaucescens x K. bentii ssp. bentii. The seed parent, K. glaucescens, was a red-flowered form known as K. flammea, from what was then called Somaliland, with flat, simple, ovate to lanceolate leaves. The pollen parent, K. bentii, has simple, subcylindrical leaves and panicles of large white flowers (“1 ½ inches long and nearly 1 inch across”). The pink flower color is what one would expect, a blend of the red and white. It is the foliage that is unexpected and variable, from simple to pinnatifid with terete or channeled divisions. Rooted cuts of HBG 119045, $7.

Photo © 2016 by Karen Zimmerman. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 88 (3), May-June, 2016