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SUBSPICATA   (Baker) Berger, 1930


Published in Crassulacea No.5, 29. Sept. 2017. 

Synonyms :

Cotyledon subspicata  Baker (1869)

Echeveria bicolor var. subspicata  (Baker) Walther (1935)

Series Nudae

Type : Not designated. Collected by Alexander Purdie (1817-1857). [He was in Colombia 1844-1845.]

Etymology : Referring to the spike-like inflorescence.

Distribution : Colombia : On rocks near the snow line, Nevada de Santa Marta.


First Description by Baker as Cotyledon subspicata in Saunders Ref. Bot. vol. 1, nr. 30, 1869 :

Caulescent, glabrous.

The leaves densely rosulate, oblong, slightly spathulate, acute, the largest in a dried specimen two inches long by an inch broad.

Flowering branch erect, about a foot high. Flowers thirty or fourty in a dense equilateral raceme, the upper ones subsessile, the lower spreading or slightly cernuous.

Flowers : Calyx-teeth ascending, lanceolate, a quarter of an inch long, corolla red, pentagonal, half an inch long.

Near E. coccinea, but glabrous, and the flowers slightly stalked.


Note :

Baker listed Cotyledon subspicata under "Imperfectly known species". Evidently he had described it from a dried specimen. Also Walther, when combining it 1935 with E. bicolor, knew only dried material. And more than 130 years after Baker's description, Uhl wrote : "Particularly important would be living plants of E. subspicata from the immense isolated peak of Santa Marta (5'800 m), just south of the Caribbean in the northern tip of Colombia, near the Venezuelan border " (Cact. & Succ. Journal US, 1992). Because of the lack of living material and because of the fact that the type locality of E. subspicata is at ca 4500 m asl. while E. bicolor is occurring in areas of much lower elevations (1'000 - 1'500 m asl.) Uhl did not accept Walther's combination.

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