Bryophyllum pinnatum, also known as the Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, and Goethe Plant is a succulent plant native to Madagascar, which is a popular houseplant and has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean. It is distinctive for the profusion of miniature plantlets that form on the margins of its leaves, a trait it has in common with some other members of its genus.
Bryophyllum pinnatum has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Macaronesia, Mascarenes, Galapagos, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii. In many of these, such as Hawaii, it is regarded as an invasive species. It is also widely distributed in the Philippines and it is known as katakataka or kataka-taka which is also an adjective meaning astonishing or remarkable.
Much of the reason for the widespread naturalization of this plant can be traced to its popularity as a garden plant. The writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - who also was an amateur naturalist of some repute - was "passionately fond" of this plant and liked to give the baby plantlets as gifts to friends who visited his home. He also discussed his air plant at length in an essay titled Geschichte meiner botanischen Studien ("History of my botanical studies").
Vernacular names for Bryophyllum pinnatum include Cathedral Bells, Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant and the Katakataka. The first two of these are also commonly names for plants of other species and genera. It is also called "Leaf of Life" and "Wonder of the World" in the English speaking Caribbean.
^Batygina, T. B.; Bragina, E. A.; Titova, G. E. (1996). "Morphogenesis of propagules in viviparous species Bryophyllum daigremontianum and B. calycinum". Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae65: 127. doi:10.5586/asbp.1996.022.