Cutflower Nomenclature

Scientific/Botanical Name:

Genus: Tolmiea

Specie: T. menziesii


English Name:

only member of the monotypic genus Tolmiea.

Common Name:

It is known by the common names youth on age, thousand mothers, and piggyback plant.

Botanical Family:

Name in Latin: Saxifragaceae

Name in English: Saxifrage Family

The Plant

Origin: Pacific northwest

Growth Habit: mature plants, new leaves sprout directly from the center of large, mature leaves at the point where the stem attaches to the leaf. This strange habit has earned the nickname "piggy-back plant," "youth-on-age

Flower: If it does flower, the flowers are small and white and arise on a small spike.

Blooming Period:

Leaf: Basal leaves heart-shaped, 3-10 cm wide, nearly as long, shallowly 5- to 7-lobed, sharply toothed, hairy, sometimes with small buds at base of leaf blades, long-stalked, the stalks hairy; stem leaves few, similar to the basal, reduced; stipules leaf-like, elliptic, 3-8 mm long, irregularly toothed, short-bristly.


Because its flowers are less than exciting, it's generally grown as a foliage plant

Care and Handling

Soil: A loose, well-drained potting mix.

Amount of water: Keep soil constantly moist all year and mist occasionally in very dry environments. Tolmiea likes high humidity, but dislikes intense heat and dry air.

Nutrition: Fertilize during the growing season with liquid fertilizer or controlled-release fertilizer according to label instructions.

Special handling: Light: Bright, indirect light. It will grow with some direct morning sunlight, but prefers dappled light. It will grow in light shade.

Special feature/remarks:

The genus was named after the Scottish-Canadian botanist William Fraser Tolmie, while the species name refers to Archibald Menzies, the Scottish naturalist for the Vancouver Expedition (1791-1795).