Native to Madagascar, mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum delagoense) is an escaped ornamental plant. Hybrid mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum x houghtonii) is a cross between mother-of millions and Bryophyllum daigremontianum and is also an escaped ornamental. Five Bryophyllum species are naturalised in Queensland. Bryophyllum pinnatum (resurrection plant, live-leaf), is also problematic but is not declared.

Mother of millions infests grasslands, woodlands and open dunes, and is poisonous to stock.

Mother-of-millions is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Bryophyllum delagoense (syn. B. tubiflorum and Kalanchoe delagoensis), B. x houghtonii (syn. B. daigremontianum x B. delagoense, K. x houghtonii)

Other names

Mission bells, Christmas bells


  • Erect, smooth, fleshy, succulent plant up to 1m or more tall.
  • Leaf shape varies depending on hybrid, from tubular to boat-shaped to flat.
  • Each leaf produces small plantlets along its edge.
  • Flowers are orange-red, bell-shaped, in dense clusters at top of tall flower spikes.


  • Establishes well in leaf litter or other debris on shallow soils in shady woodlands.
  • Found on roadsides, fence lines, coastal dunes and around old rubbish dumps.
  • Adaptable to dry conditions.

Distribution in Queensland

  • Affects pasturelands in Central Highlands around Clermont, Emerald and Dingo, and Burnett, Moreton and Darling Downs scrub regions.

Life cycle

  • Flowers May-October.

Affected animals

  • Livestock



  • Forms infestations in grasslands, open woodlands and coastal dunes.


  • Poisonous, with newly exposed stock especially vulnerable.
  • Affects use of stock routes.

How it is spread

  • Spread by floodwater and establishes if pastures are in poor condition.
  • Also spread by animals, slashers, machinery and vehicles.


Physical control

  • For small areas, pull up plants by hand and burn on a wood heap. Alternatively, bag plants and dump them in a bin, the contents of which should be buried at your council's refuse tip rather than being recycled into mulch. Partially burnt plant material remains palatable and toxic to stock.
  • When suitable (e.g. after grading firebreaks), burn infestations and accompanying debris on which mother-of-millions plants thrive. This is the most economical form of control, encourages grass competition and lessens problem in following years, requiring only spot spraying with selective herbicides.

Herbicide control

  • Mother-of-millions may be controlled with herbicides at any time of the year, but infestations are easiest to see in winter when plants are in flower. Treating infestations at this time of year also prevents new seeds from developing on common mother-of-millions.

See the Mother-of-millions fact sheet (PDF, 770KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • South African thrip, Scirtothrips aurantii, is now widespread in Queensland. This thrip damages the outer tissue of the mother-of-millions plant and lays its eggs under the outer tissue. Where populations of thrips are high, the number of viable plantlets and flowers forming on mother-of-millions is reduced.
  • Thrip populations vary from year to year according to prevailing weather conditions, and may not be a satisfactory long-term control strategy.
  • Two weevils are possible biological control agents if they can be approved under the Biological Control Act.

Legal requirements

  • Mother-of-millions is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.
Last updated
12 October 2016


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