The flapjack plant or Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (kal-un-KOH-ee thur-SEE-flor-uh) is a succulent from the Crassulaceae family. Flapjacks are native to Africa, specifically Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
The Kalanchoe thyrsiflora goes by several names, such as:
- Paddle plant Kalanchoe
- White lady
- Desert cabbage
- Red pancake
Although the paddle plant is native to Africa, it grows in USDA zones 10 or warmer. In colder regions, flapjacks will grow in pots near windows with plenty of light.
Succulents have become popular in recent years. Many home improvement stores sell them without warnings about potential toxicity.
The paddle Kalanchoe can offer interest to your home décor and a tropical feel to homes in cold areas.
But, if you have a succulent flapjack you may wonder if it is toxic to people, cats, dogs, or even horses.
NOTE: Kalanchoe luciae looks similar to Kalanchoe thyrsiflora but is a different species. The same toxic information in this article applies to Kalanchoe luciae.
Are Flapjack Plants Toxic?
Kalanchoe plants, unfortunately, are toxic to pets. If your cat or dog eats part of the paddle plant, you may notice:
- General lethargy
If your pet ingests too much of this succulent plant, symptoms can be more severe.
In more significant amounts, the toxicity can result in:
- Labored breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Or collapse
In some cases, the Kalanchoe plant can cause death to pets.
The flapjack plants are listed as poisonous to humans if ingested. The sap contains skin irritants. Wear gloves when handling paddle plants. Wash off any of the plant sap that gets on your skin.
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is not listed as poisonous to horses but use caution nonetheless. In large quantities, your equine could have an adverse reaction to the paddle plant.
What Parts of the Flapjack Kalanchoe Are Poisonous or Toxic?
All parts of the flapjack are toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. That includes the leaves, roots, but especially the flowers.
If your Kalanchoe thyrsiflora flowers, take extra caution to keep it away from small children and pets. The flowers are the most toxic part of the plant.
What Are The Symptoms of Paddle Plant Poisoning?
The most common symptoms of poisoning are:
If a more significant amount gets ingested, the toxicity can cause difficulty breathing, a racing heart, and fainting.
How To Protect Yourself While Handling the Flapjack Plant
Succulents are generally low-maintenance plants, and don’t need excessive handling. When you transplant, take stem cuttings or prune the flapjack plant, wear gloves to avoid minor skin irritations.
Use caution not to get the sap of the succulent leaves on your skin.
If your plant is flowering, use extra care, as the blossoms are the most toxic part of the plant.
The drought tolerant flapjack (or paddle) plant can be a lovely addition to a potted succulent collection.
But remember this succulent is toxic. If you have pets, such as cats, that can get up to high places, make sure your flapjack is in a spot your animals can’t reach.
Use extra care with toddlers and young children in the house. Protect yourself when pruning or replanting this attractive African succulent.
With a little prevention and caution, the paddle plant will provide beautiful, plump, red-tinged leaves for years to come.