An Update: Lorraine from the Kumbula Indigenous Nursery has identified the plant. She wrote:
This plant is called Bryophyllum proliferum or “Green Mother of Millions”. It comes from Madagascar and is highly invasive in South Africa. It will root from even a broken piece of leaf and it produces baby plantlets along the edges of the leaves that fall everywhere and grow. I planted a couple of them in my garden in the Eastern Cape 4 years ago and I have been trying to get rid of the young plants for the last three years! It certainly did not discourage the moles or the molerats (which may be what you have). The plants are also poisonous to livestock. The plant has escaped from gardens in the areas around Durban, PE, Cape Town and most of Gauteng and is fast becoming an alien invader species. If you decide to grow it, make sure that any stems or leaves that you may cut off in the future are burnt, not sent to the rubbish dumps where they will get a chance to spread into the countryside. Such a pity as it makes a lovely shrub with pretty flowers.
So I will be removing the plant again. I know my neighbour meant well, but I don’t want to knowingly grow any alien invasive species in our garden.
Let me begin by saying that we are not “lawn obsessed”. Our lawn has never been the “perfect” lawn. It is not evenly cut, it is patchy and it has some weeds in it. Lately though it’s become even less of a lawn and more of a mole playground. The neighbourhood moles moved in and are rapidly taking over.
In some areas, the mole is not even coming right up to the surface, but burrowing just below it creates this kind of look . . .
The other day I came home to find that one of our neighbours had left two plants for us, with a little note attached. What it said was that we should plant them in our garden to keep the moles away. Apparently, this had worked wonders at the local lawn bowling club who as the name suggests rely on pristine lawns. The neighbour had obtained two of the little plants for us – off-shoots of the bigger plants at the bowling club. The idea, I guess, is that we start planting these plants along the perimeter of our property. It gave me a warm feeling to think that people in our neighbourhood (the neighbour in question lives in the road behind us), would care enough about our garden to get involved in our battle against the moles. And especially that they are thinking up eco-friendly solutions. We have a cat and dog so we have never wanted to use poisons in the garden. Of course, chasing the moles away from our garden may just make them become somebody else’s problem!
Does anyone know what the plant is, and whether it is going to help keep the moles out of our yard?