Kalanchoe integrifolia

When at the end of my recent trip to Madagascar we had some time left, we decided to go to Antsirabe to visit Mt. Ibity. I had been there 19 years ago to see the famous Pachypodium brevicaule in its habitat and this seemed a good opportunity to renew the acquaintance.
As the area is protected nowadays, it took us a while to find a guide and get the necessary permissions, but in the end we were able to start the ascend.
Just before we arrived at the level were we could expect the Pachypodiums, I noticed a little succulent in a rock crevice. My first thought was: “An Adromischus?”. Well, probably not, as that genus is not known to occur in Madagascar. A bit further up we came across a mature specimen and one look at the flowers confirmed that it was a Kalanchoe. But which one? Fortunately there is a book on the Kalanchoes of Madagascar and that quickly answered the question. (When I looked through  slides of my first visit to the country, I found one of the same species photographed further south at a place 15 km West of Ivato; see first picture)

Kalanchoe integrifolia is a  polymorphous species which is slow growing  and may become very old. It may reach a height of up to 1 m.
The leaves show a great variation in appearance depending on the age of the plants. They are 3-11 cm long and 0.8-2.5 cm wide, egg-shaped in young plants and becoming  almost cylindrical as the plants get older.
The flowers may be white, yellowish, pink or dull reddish and are slightly pubescent.
The species occurs in the Antsirabe-Ambositra area on quartz, gneiss and basalt rocks at an altitude of 1200- 2000m. It is rare and probably endangered by environmental

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Back from Madagascar

Two days ago I returned from Madagascar. The return flight was rather annoying, as the airline had decided to cancel part of the original schedule. But as they say: all is well that ends well.
Our stay on the Big Island was great: beautiful scenery, lovely people, good food. Oh yes, you’re right, I went there to see succulent plants!  Well, in that respect the trip proved to be a bit of a mixed bag. I knew beforehand that the northern part of the country (North of Antananarivo) does not harbour as many succulent plant species as the south and southwest. Unfortunately that proved to be rather an understatement. The number of species I came across was very limited, to put it mildly. On the other hand the area has a number of very interesting and beautiful endemics.
The last two days we spent south of the capital and that tipped the balance to the positive side.
All in all we loved being in the country again and we are now contemplating a new trip there pretty soon, this time to the more arid parts.

The following pictures will give you some idea of the things we saw.

Rice fields in the Ankarafantsika Nat. Park

A typical example of the building style in the central highlands

Between Antanarivo and Maevatanana

One of the more interesting areas for succulents: Montagne des Francais near Diego Suarez

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Pachypodium rutenbergianum

Adansonia madagascariensis accompanied by Pach. rutenbegianum on sandy coastal plain near Diego Suarez

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Adansonia suarezensis near Diego Suarez

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Pachypodium brevicaule at Mt. Ibity near Antsirabe