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Grigg's Surprise

Synonyms :

Sempervivum tectorum var. calcareum fa monstrosum nn

Sempervivum calcareum 'Monstrosum'

Cotyledon persicum  hort.

Umbilicus persicus  hort.

Umbilicus syriensis  hort.

This is a monstrous mutation of Sempervivum calcareum, which has appeared in cultivation. It is not very vigorous and it flowers but very rarely. It has been present in a few collections decades before it has been named and described in 1957.

Not to be confused with Sempervivum 'Oddity'.

First described in Nat. Cact.& Succ. Journal 12(4), p.72, 1957 by Ronald S. Byles as


Sempervivum tectorum v. calcareum 'Grigg's Surprise' :


"Differs from v. calcareum proper in having more solid, denser rosettes, the leaves commonly deeper or more or less acutely concave on the undersides, sometimes semi-cylindrical, usually less glaucous than in v. calcareum proper but otherwise strongly resembling that form in the apical mucro and characteristic apical leaf marking. Inflorescence more or less fasciated or imperfect. Petals more or less aborting, cylindrical acuminate, tortuous, flexible, very slender indeed, red-purplish pigmented but often remaining wholly or partly green. Carpels and stamens partly to wholly mature. Whorl members frequently connate in pairs. Seeds sometimes fertile.

Origin: At present known only from cultivation where it may well have arisen by chance."

Sempervivum calcareum :

Sempervivum calcareum in back, S. calcareum 'Grigg's Surprise' in front :

Photos Noelene Tomlinson

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