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MONTANA  Rose, 1903 

Synonym : Echeveria nuda var. montana (Rose) von Poellnitz (1936).

Series Nudae

Type : Pringle 4706, collected June 16, 1894, on ledges, trees etc. Sierra de San Felipe, ca 3150 m. US 48365.

Etymology : Referring to the habitat.

Distribution : Mexico, Oaxaca, Sierra de San Felipe, 2600 - 3500 m. 

Whether plants collected in Guatemala and Chiapas are correctly identified  is doubtful.

First Description by Rose in Bulletin of the New York Botannical Garden 3: 6. 1903 :



Leaves in a dense rosette at the top of the stem, orbicular or obovate, somewhat narrowed below, glabrous, 5 - 6 cm long.


Flowering stems somewhat granular-roughened above, rather densely leafy-bracted  below, 20 - 30 cm long, many-flowered, inflorescence an equilateral raceme.


Flowers : Sepals ovate-lanceolate, 6 - 7 mm long, corolla 1 cm long.


Rose' description is based on dried material, therefore the papillosity characteristic for E. montana was not visible. Nevertheless the flowering stem is described as granular-roughened.




Description by Reid Moran in Cactus and Succulent Journal US 37(6): 178-183. 1965 :

Caudex erect, ± branching, 20 - 50 cm tall, 8 - 23 mm thick, at first pale green, becoming greener, then sometimes tan or marked with brown, then gradually silvery gray, appearing smooth but finely papillose, in age minutely and irregularly forrowed, the old leafbase sites enlarging sometimes to 18 mm wide and 12 mm high, the attachment scars elliptic, pinkish tan, later fading, sometimes becoming 10 mm wide and 12 mm high, the single bundle scar elliptic, 1 - 2 mm wide sometimes with aerial roots.

Rosettes flattish, 10 - 25 cm wide, of 15 - 25 leaves rather crowded or the lower well separated.

Rosette leaves glossy green, paler dorsally, in sun sometimes red dorsally and on margins, spatulate to obovate-spatulate, obtuse to rounded, mucronate, 4 - 12 cm long, 2.5 - 4.5 cm wide above, 6 - 10 mm wide at the base, 5 - 8 mm thick at the base and gradually thinner upward, rounded and faintly keeled dorsally, flattish or mostly channelled or slightly cupped ventrally, the margins acute except toward the base, narrowly hyaline, sometimes red, papillose, sometimes irregularly crenulate, minutely undulate, or subfimbriate, the surface appearing smooth but minutely low-papillose by the lenticular protrusion of each epidermal cell.

Floral stems erect, 25 - 55 cm tall (including the raceme), 5 - 8 mm thick at the base, becoming dark purplish red, bare in the lower 1 - 3 cm, with 12 - 25 ascending leaves rather equally distributed above; the stems, bracts, pedicels, calyx and corolla very finely muriculo-papillose, the papillae one per epidermal cell but smaller than the cell surface, ca. 0.025 mm high and about as wide at the base.

Stem leaves obovate-spatulate, mucronate, spurred, the lower 2.5 - 5 cm long, 1.5 - 2.5 cm wide, the upper narrower, the spur white, obliquely cuspidate, ca 3 - 4 mm long.

Inflorescence erect from the first, a raceme 15 - 25 cm long, of 15 - 25 flowers, the lowest 1 - 2 branches sometimes 2-flowered, the flowers often all ± turned to one side. Bracts like the upper stem leaves but narrower upwards, the middle and upper elliptic-oblanceolate, acute, the base appressed, the blade spreading to deflexed. Pedicels horizontal, 2 - 13 mm long, 1.5 - 3 mm thick, red, the two bracteoles anywhere from base to apex, subequal, green elliptic, acute, spurred, 7 - 15 mm long, 1.5 - 5 mm wide.

Flowers in June and July (San Diego), open mostly 6 - 7 days.

Calyx disk 4 - 7 mm wide, the segments nearly equal, ascending or in anthesis sometimes wide-spreading, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, green, 6 - 12 mm long, 2 - 6 mm wide, 1 - 1.5 mm thick, biconvex, with acute margins, the upper one sometimes spurred.

Corolla 8 - 14 mm long, 6 - 13 mm thick at the base, 3 - 5 mm wide at the apex, dandelion yellow at the apex and within, bright red toward the base and on the keels especially on the upper side, pyramidal-ovoid, sometimes slightly oblique at the mouth by the protrusion of the upper petals, the sides broadly channeled to a depth of 0.5 - 1.5 mm. Petals non-convolute, connate 2 - 5 mm, oblong-ovate, to oblong-spatulate, broadly acute, apiculate, 3.5 - 8 mm wide, 1 - 1.5 mm thick, subacutely keeled, with concave flanks, ventrally broadly channeled in the distal half, the channel below ca 1 mm wide and deep, between prominent shoulders, the nectar pit hemispheric, 2 - 2.5 mm wide, the keel ending in a stout conic subdorsal apicula 0.5 - 0.8 mm long.

Filaments subulate, yellowish, extending to 3 - 7 mm from the corolla base, 0.6 - 1.0 mm wide, the epipetalous inserted at the upper margin of the nectar pit, the antesepaloous slightly longer, adnate 1 - 3 mm, anthers yellow.


Cytology : n = 22.

Note :

1. Poellnitz' reducing of Echeveria montana to a variety of E. nuda, without discussion or explanation, is not comprehensible, he obviously knew no further localities and his description is only a German translation of Rose' English text.  

2. Standley and Steyermark (1946) reported E. montana from Guatemala, but they worked from dried material and R. Moran, after having examined the specimens on which their report was based, does not consider any of them to be E. montana. Whether E. montana is occurring in Guatemala at all is rather unlikely. Uhl reports three collections from Guatemala (growing at 2160 - 2230 m), but his photos of Guatemalan plants do not correspond to Moran's description of plants from the region of the type locality in Oaxaca. Their inflorescences with very long bracts exceeding the flowers are similar to those of E. coccinea.


3. According to R. Moran, E. montana seems to be closer to E. bicolor than to E. nuda, however E. bicolor is occurring only at about 1000 m asl.

4. The description by E. Walther in Echeveria, the description in IHSP, published by M. Kimnach, as well as the description published by Pilbeam in The genus Echeveria are not correct.  All descriptions speak of entirely glabrous plants. This is all the more astounding as already Rose, the first to describe this species, in his rather short text mentions "granular-roughened" flowering stems. 

5. Concerning the photos of E. montana on it is impossible to discern whether the plants are papillose or not = whether the plants are correct or not.


Photos Gerhard Köhres

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