In another bit of horticultural confusion, the plant long grown in the California succulent trade under the name of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is actually the cloesly related Kalanchoe luciae. First described in 1908 by Raymond Hamet, the specific epitet is to honor a Lucy Dufour. In March-April 2001 issue of the Cactus and Succulent Journal this confusion of names is discussed in an article by John Trager with a picture of the true Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. The article notes that:
"The plant commonly distributed under this name [Kalanchoe thyrsiflora], sometimes with the whimsical common name - coined by one enterprising nurseryman - of "flipping flapjacks" is in fact the related K. luciae ssp. luciae. Both species bear the fleshy, paddle-like, obovate leaves to which the common name refers. Those of K. luciae blush deep red, especially with cool winter temperatures. Those of K. thyrsiflora are more uniform chalky green or white, covered with a thick flour-like coating of wax. The flowers of the two species also differ. Those of K. luciae are not strongly scented and have an urnceolate flower tube with pale-yellow lanceolate corolla lobes. Those of K. thyrsiflora are heavily sweet scented with a cylindric flower tube and brilliant yellow broadly obovate lobes."
San Marcos Growers has grown Kalanchoe luciae since 1999 under the incorrect name of K. thyrsiflora. In our 2005 catalog we have corrected this error. As the true Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is an exceptionally attractive plant itself, we are also building stock on it with the intention of growing both Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and Kalanchoe luciae in the future.
The true Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora flowers (Image by J. Trager)