GIGANTEA  Rose & Purpus, 1910   (engl./ fr.)

Series Gibbiflorae


Type : Purpus 07/414, Cerro de la Yerba, near San Luis Atolotitlan, southern Puebla, Mexico  (US 592488).


Distribution : Mexico (Puebla, Oaxaca).



First Description by Rose & Purpus in Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 13: 46, plate 13 & 14 (not plate 12 which is E. rubromarginata). 1910 :


Main stem short and stocky, 20 to 30 cm long, crowned by a rosette of leaves.


Leaves oblanceolate, sometimes 25 cm lang, 15 cm broad at widest point, tapering below into a thick fleshy petiole, light green, only slightly glaucous, bordered by a bright red margin.


Flowering stems erect, sometimes nearly 2 meters long, somewhat pinkish, glaucous, the longer leaves 10 to 11 cm long, inflorescence paniculate, with elongated ascending branches, often 15 to 30 cm long, pedicels usually short (2 to 5 mm long), but the earlier ones often longer.


Flowers : Sepals very unequal, spreading and remaining so after the flower fades, corolla 12 to 14 mm long, pinkish, the lobes slightly spreading at tip.


Cytology : n = 54


Distributed by ISI as n° 215 (1961) and 1327 (1982)



Note :


- The First Description does not say anything regarding the leaf margin (except that it is bright red) and the corresponding photos show a plant with even margins. However already in 1949 T. MacDougall reported an E. gigantea growing “in the dry, rocky, limestone hills and ridges near Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca". And he stated : ”The leaves on all plants are more or less undulate, and decorative individuals may be found in which this character, greatly developed, is combined with ruffled margins to the leaf."

Today it is clear that regarding leaf margins E. gigantea is much more variable than the First Description suggested.


- Charles Uhl wrote (Haseltonia Nr. 9, 2002) :

“Walther (1972) distinguished this large species from E. gibbiflora chiefly by its red-margined leaves, but otherwise they intergrade enough with each other to question their validity as separate species.”


Link to short descriptions by M. Kimnach in English and French.


Plants in habitat in Oaxaca :

Photo Catherine Phillips

Photos Kim Holbrook
Photos Gerhard Köhres

Plants in cultivation :

Photo Thomas Delange
Photos Emmanuelle Aubé
Photos Margrit Bischofberger

Seeds of E. gigantea :
Photos provided by Gerhard Köhres

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