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ALATA   Alexander, 1941

Series Nudae

Type : MacDougall B-16 (NY) from mountains west of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Etymology : Latin adjective alatus = winged - for the winged corolla-angles.

Distribution : Mexico (Oaxaca - mountains W of Tehuantepec and adjacent westward region).


First Description by Alexander in Cactus and Succulent Journal US 13(8): 136-137. 1941 :


Plant caulescent and shrubby, branched from the base, the branches erect.


Leaves not at all rosulate, scattered along the stem and long persistent, dark green with red margins and red apex to keel on the underside, 5 - 6 cm long, 2 cm wide, thick and fleshy, oblanceolate and abruptly acute.


Inflorescences 15 - 20 cm long, erect, the rachis dark red, the bracts similar to the leaves but only 3.5 cm long and 12 - 14 mm wide, flowers in a multilateral raceme, the pedicels 15 - 18 mm long, 2-bracted, the bracts lanceolate, 12 mm long.


Flowers : Calyx-lobes nearly equal, 13 - 18 mm long, lanceolate, ascending, acute; corolla 2 - 2.2 cm long, urceolate, with sharp, winged angles, bright scarlet outside, (the three inner petals sulphur-yellow at the apex with a scarlet keel), cream-yellow inside, only the petal-tips recurved; stamens opposite the petals 12 mm long, their filaments unribbed, those opposite the sepals 13 mm long, their filaments broader and with a strong central rib; carpel-cluster 17 mm long, yellowish-white flused with rose, carpels united 2 mm above the base; styles long-acuminate, greenish-white below, the upper 4 - 5 mm maroon; stigmas capitate, pale olive-green.

Note :

1. Walther's re-description of E. alata Alexander in Echeveria, 301-302, 1972, differs in several aspects from the protologue. As he failed to indicate which plant he used, it is impossible to know whether the differences are due to the variability of E. alata or whether the plant he used was not the true E. alata. His re-description is therefore useless and this applies also to Kimnach's summary in the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants, 2003.

2. E. alata is known only from a restricted area : Zapotitlán, mountains W of Tehuantepec (B-16), and Cerro Cunejo (B-280) - plants of the latter locality are smaller in all parts but (according to Reid Moran) may be grouped with E. alata Alexander. 

3. Whether the ISI 1643 offering of 1986 - a plant collected by A. Lau near Yolox - is correct is somewhat doubtful,  the flower colour, described as orange, does not correspond - E. alata has red and yellow flowers - and the cited locality (near Yolox) is rather distant from the area where MacDougall had collected E. alata.


Illustration published with the First Description by Alexander in Cactus & Succulent Journal US 13(8): 136, Fig. 77. 1941

Photos Werner Krell

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