Update: The Mystery “anti-mole” plant

This is an update to my Mystery plant . . . and this is supposed to keep the moles away?! post.

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.

Thanks Lorraine for the comment and information!

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Nature/Environment, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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9 Comments on “Update: The Mystery “anti-mole” plant”

  1. August 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Oh my goodness, how fortunate that Lorraine could identify the plant so quickly! I wouldn’t want such an invasive plant growing in my garden either. Phew! Close escape!

    As far as the moles/molerats are concerned, I guess it’s back to the drawing board?

  2. Madoqua
    August 30, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I wonder if moles can smell? Perhaps if you found something that really smelled bad (rotten onions are a good choice!) you could bury some in their tunnels?

    • August 30, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      I really don’t know what we are going to do. Somebody suggested that planting marigolds around the perimeter of the property might work.

      My sister-in-law also had a problem with moles and said that she blocked the tunnels with some potatoes. Didn’t help with the moles much and she ended up with a front lawn randomly dotted with potato plants! 🙂 So obviously a physical deterrent won’t work, but maybe something smelly will?

      • Madoqua
        September 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

        I had to laugh at the idea of the potatoes, exchanging mole humps with potato plants! I must confess that we don’t have moles here in Australia and I do miss them!

  3. September 4, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    What a great, informative blog. So glad to have found you. I will return often.

    • September 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      Hi Danice,

      Thanks for the kind comments! I’m also glad you found my blog. 🙂


  4. September 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    oh my!!! now that I read it and had a closer look at the plant on the Internet, I realized it is what I have in my balcony!!! Some days ago I posted a picture of its flowers without knowing we were talking about the same. It`s not that it`s uncontrollably invasive, the leaves have some small little leaves? don`t know what to call them and they grow everywhere but you can control it by having the plant in just one place. Of course, I`m talking about having them in a pot and not in a garden, that would be more difficult, of course.

    • September 7, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Ellen, I left a link on your blog to some more photos of the plant and flowers. Not sure that it is the same plant . . . I’m sure that it’s safe to have it in a pot where you can control it.

      • September 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

        I saw it, thanks Lisa!!! it`s the same plant. I talked to the gardener who gave it to me and he knew it, though he didn`t know it was used to fight against moles

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