Echeveria
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SANCHEZ-MEJORADAE   Walther, 1972  (engl./ fr.)

VALIDATION OF E. SANCHEZ-MEJORADAE E.WALTHER IN CRASSULACEA 5, 29. Sept. 2017.

Synonym : Echeveria halbingeri var. sanchez-mejoradae  Kimnach (1998)

Series Urbiniae

 

Type : From plants originally collected by E. Walther along road from Venados to Zacualtipan (see Note below), Hidalgo, Mexico, cultivated by Victor Reiter. CAS 414603 & 414549.

 

Etymology : Named for Hernando Sánchez-Mejorada.

Distribution : Mexico (Hidalgo)

 

 

First Description by Walther in Echeveria, p. 108-109, 1972 :

 

Plant glabrous, stemless, cespitose, with even small, young plants consisting of two or more rosettes.

 

Leaves numerous, crowded, linear-oblanceolate to obovate-cuneate, long-attenuate to base, at apex aristate-apiculate, slightly recurved, obscurely keeled beneath, to 6 cm long and 15 mm broad. Colour spinach-green, not glaucous.

 

Inflorescences three to five, sometimes to 50 cm tall, simply secund-racemose; peduncle slender, flexuose, light yellowish olive; bracts distant, oblanceolate, aristate-acute, subtriquetrous, to 20 mm long, colour as leaves, but tinged army-brown.

 

Flowers 10, spreading; pedicels to 9 mm long, vinaceous-fawn to army-brown; sepals very unequal, longest to 11 mm long, acute, spreading to ascending, deltoid to lanceolate, colour as bracts; corolla urceolate, 11 mm long, 8 mm in basal diameter, 5 mm at mouth, jasper-pink at base, javel-green abovepetals not at all keeled, nor hollowed, colour inside javel-greencarpels 7 mm long, light lumiere-green; styles apple-green; nectaries narrowly lunate, oblique, 2 mm wide, light lumiere-green.

 

Cytology : No chromosome count for this plant.

Link to the French translation of this description.

Note :

1. Walther prepared this description in 1959, shortly before he died. However it took 13  years until it was finally published in his posthumous book Echeveria in 1972.  Until that time contemporaries only knew that Walther had collected a new species along the road from Venados to Zacualtipan in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and that he had decided to name if for Sr. Hernando Sanchez-Mejorada.

In autumn 1959 Reid Moran collected plants in the same region, they had solitary rosettes with glaucous leaves. As they had been found near the type locality Walther had indicated, it seemed likely that they corresponded to Walther's E. sanchez-mejoradae and they were distributed with this name. Because Walther's description was not accessible a verification was impossible.

When - finally - in 1972 the description was made public, E. sanchez-mejoradae as a plant with solitary rosettes and glaucous leaves was so well established that apparently nobody checked the protologue and the erroneous identification was not detected.

This means that from the very beginning the name E. sanchez-mejoradae was used for two distincly different plants :

 

- Firstly and correctly for Walther's freely offsetting plant with spinach-green leaves said to have come from the above mentioned locality and

 

- secondly and incorrectly for a plant with a solitary rosette with whitish leaves evidentially from the same region – clearly an impostor as it does not correspond to Walther’s description.

 

[Unfortunately Walther's plant has never been found again in the wild. Either he has not remembered correctly the locality or – more likely – the plant he has described as E. sanchez-mejoradae had been confused in Reiter’s garden where it was cultivated.]

 

With respect to the impostor : While it does not correspond to Walther’s description of E. sanchez-mejoradae it correspond  all the better to E. hyalina, a species present in the neighbouring states of Guanajuato, Queretaro and San Luis Potosí; i.e. the incorrectly named E. sanchez-mejoradae from Hidalgo represents in fact the occurrence of E. hyalina in this state. Retrospectively it is difficult to understand why its similarity with E. hyalina has not been noticed already a long time ago. 

 

2. The editors of the book enhanced Walther’s text with two black-and-white photos (Fig. 48 & 49, p. 109 & 110) and a colour photo of the flowers (pl. 17, p. 213). The caption of the former reads : «Photographed in San Diego 16 April 1961; part of the type collection (UCBG 59.403).» However 

a) in Walther’s text no UCBG type collection is mentioned at all and

b) plants of this so-called type collection, offered as ISI 455 in 1965, were described as having white rosettes ! So obviously the type collection was not identical with Walther’s E. sanchez-mejoradae.

On the other hand the colour photo of the flowers does not represent the UCBG type collection but is Moran 7798, the plant he collected in 1959 (the locality indicated in the caption however is not correct).

That means none of the three photos shows Walther’s species. They all show the Sanchez-mejoradae-impostor which in fact is E. hyalina.

 

5. There is another plant nurseries have been selling as E. sanchez-mejoradae; it is a plant collected by Felipe Otero at "Metzquititlan near Metztitlan", his number FO-48. However this is an offsetting plant and its flowers are different. Whether this is still the correct FO-48 or an impostor cannot be verified because Otero left no description.

6. In 1998 Kimnach classified E. sanchez-mejoradae Walther as a variety of E. halbingeri. However the differences between E. halbingeri and E. sanchez-mejoradae are so striking that this decision is not comprehensible and is not followed here.

 




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