Senecio talinoides subsp. mandraliscae/Kleinia mandraliscae-Blue Chalksticks

The Blue Chalksticks after I brought it home on 10-11-12, #121-18.

Blue Chalksticks

Senecio talinoides subsp. mandraliscae 


Kleinia mandraliscae

I bought this plant from Lowe’s October 11, 2012. in Greenville, Mississippi while living at the mansion in Leland. The label said Senecio mandraliscae and said the common name was Blue Chalksticks. It was on the discount rack so I thought I would give it a try.

When I did the first name and author research for this plant, for the first Belmont Rooster blog in 2013, I ran into a bit of confusion. I always started with The Plant List then compared it with Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) and other sites.

As I am writing this page on April 27, 2018, for my third Belmont Rooster blog nothing has changed. Well, except for the fact that The Plant List is no longer being maintained. The Royal Botanic Gardens-Kew launched Plants of the World Online in 2017 but they are still uploading data. As a result, they have no information on this plant yet. 

Without going into all the details of which site said what, I am just going to give you my, um, opinion.

This species was first named Kleinia mandraliscae Tineo by Vincenzo Tineo and described in Annali di Agricoltura Siciliana in 1855.

In 1951 the name was changed to Senecio mandraliscae (Tineo) H.Jacobsen by Hermann Johannes Heinrich Jacobsen. He published his description in Sukkulentenk in 1951. The Wikipedia page for Mr. Jacobsen is in German but maybe someone can read it or you can use the Google translator.

Then, in 1990, Gordon Douglas Rowley figured out this plant was actually a subspecies of Senecio talinoides. He published his description in Cactus and Succulent Journal (Los Angeles) in 1990 under the name of Senecio talinoides subsp. mandraliscae (Tineo) G.D.Rowley.

Even though the names have changed somewhat, not everyone, every database, or website has the same opinion. Some even have no opinion and others more than one. Even one of the common names, Blue Chalksticks, is one of the common names for a few other species.

No website by the Royal Botanical Gardens-Kew has this species listed. Neither does Tropicos or the USDA Plant Database. 

The 2013 version of The Plant List said both Senecio and Kleinia mandraliscae were accepted names at the same time. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) maintains Senecio talinoides subsp. mandraliscae is the accepted name and Senecio and Kleinia mandraliscae are synonyms. Dave’s Garden is sticking with Kleinia mandraliscae as the accepted name.

The reason I agree with Mr. Rowley is because of his extensive knowledge of this genus as well as many others. Many other botanists before him also had much knowledge, but Mr. Rowley is more current and has access to more information. Another reason is I have no idea what I am talking about and I need to choose a name for this page. 

As you can tell if you click on the Llifle link, there are SEVERAL subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars that being to the Senecio talinoides group, as described by Mr. Rowley. They all have similarities but also features that separate them from the species. But, when the smoke clears and perhaps phytogenetic testing is done, this plant may very well be Kleinia mandraliscae as originally named. Only this plant knows its real name until testing is done. Then it will tell us. 


Senecio talinoides subsp. mandraliscae/Kleinia mandraliscae (Blue Chalksticks) on 2-17-13, #139-62.

Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Origin: South Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30 to 40° F)
Size: 12-18” tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Well-draining. Potting soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite
Water: Average during spring through autumn but fairly dry during the winter. 


Leaves of the Senecio talinoides subsp. mandraliscae/Kleinia mandraliscae (Blue Chalksticks) on 2-17-13, #139-63.

According to the Wikipedia, the Senecio is a genus of ragworts and groundsels. It says Kleinia is closely related to Senecio but is distinguished primarily by having succulent stems and/or leaves. Ummm… This plant definitely has succulent leaves and stems.

I only had this plant from October 11, 2012 through the end of February in 2013. I sold the mansion and moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri and had to give up most of my plants. I gave this Blue Chalksticks to a good friend and fellow plant collector when I left. 

The link below to Llifle (especially) and a few others below will give you additional information. There are other sources of information and plenty of sources online.

Senecio is one of the largest genera of plants and in dire need of reconstruction. There are species that need to be moved from this genus into others and species in other genera that should be in the Senecio genus. It is very complicated. Only with proper phylogenetic testing can we have a clearer picture of where plants actually belong. 

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.

WIKIPEDIA (Senecio/Kleinia)

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