Echeverias in Oz. A website created by collectors; for collectors.
Identifying plants...what fun we can have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
During the heat of summer the intense colouring they can have during winter is, shall we say, burnt or washed out. The pics below are of the same plant ('Alma Wilson') taken during the extremes of the two season. On the left taken at the peak of summer and on the right taken during an intense cold spell during winter. Stress, fertilizers, exactly where or what position in a garden or greenhouse and even what part of the country you live in can also play a part in just how much any plant might colour up or fade during the year. In many echeverias these seasonal changes are quite subdued to the extreme changes seen here.
Age and maturity
Something else to be looking at is the age or maturity of a plant. Some of the large frilly and carunculated plants change considerably over time and might not develop the true features for two or even three years. Below are pics of 'Silveron Red'. The youngest (on the left) has no leaf edge curl on the first of the leaves formed but you can start to see it coming in the centre growth. The middle one still carries the first of the leaves but the true leaf edge curl is becoming more and more noticeable. The fully mature one on the right is over 50cm, has long since dropped the first leaves and is displaying the true character of the hybrid.
Leaf shape and edge curl
There's really no point getting too involved with this. For the different sized rosette type all one needs to do is compare the actual shape and if possible size of the leaf. When it comes to the large frilly and carunculated plants it often pays to have a good look at the edge curl and sometimes the actual edge of the leaf. These can vary considerably and will often be a deciding factor.
The way carunculated plants change as they develop is demonstrated below. Carunculate is the technical term for those lumpy grows on the leaf. Most (not all) of these carunculated plants will drop or lose to some extent the heavy carunculations after the deheading process referred to in propagation of large frilly plants and it can take some time before they return fully. Youngest plant on the left through to the mature plant on the right
...and now it's time to mention those bloody flowers ...and we're keeping this ultra basic and simple.
There's quite a bit of cross breeding echeverias with other genera that has happened in the past, it continues today, and it is only by observing the flowers that we can get any idea about this. We're only covering Echeveria, Pachyphytum and Graptopetalum here but there are others involved in the big picture. Point here is that you may be looking in the wrong genera to find what your plant might be. All we are interested in looking at here is the actual shape and certain particulars of the flower.
What we're looking for is something that is neither an Echeveria or Pachyphytum flower but something somewhere in between. Below you can see that the sepals still come up to partly wrap the petals but the tip of the petals can still fold open. The sepals can vary in length which effects how much the petals actually fold open.
Echeveria flowers are best described as being bell shaped, Whether it be short and stubby or long and skinny, and they come in all different colours and sizes.
Pachyphytum flowers are described as tubes. The petals are normally similar coloured inside and out and are wrapped by the sepals.
Graptopetalum flowers are described as generally small and star shaped. They can be multicoloured, spotted and plain white. G. tacitus has quite a large red flower.
When we get into the cross breeding of genera we're looking at 'X Pachyveria' which is an Echeveria crossed with a Pachyphytum and 'X Graptoveria' which is Echeveria crossed with a Graptopetalum, and being able to distinguish the difference can be quite tricky.
What we're looking for is something that is neither an Echeveria or a Graptopetalum flower. Below left we see the petals open out wider than an echeveria but not as flat as the graptopetalum, also markings on the inner petals and the stamen flick outside the petal. On the right the petal tips are wider open and the stamen flick outside the petals.
Sooooooo.......after all that just remember that this is only a basic guide on things to be looking for and aware off.
Tip- Before you start banging your head on the desk..............move the keyboard!