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VIOLESCENS   Walther, 1958


1. Walther described Echeveria violescens "from living plant obtained from E.O. Orpet, Santa Barbara, California" - "no definite locality is on record so far", i.e. a plant of unknown origin which might even have been a hybrid. Instead of preparing a specimen of this plant, he searched the United States National Herbarium for a specimen which could serve as type. US 399949 was suitable and in 1957 Walther designated it first as paratype of Echeveria violescens sp. nov. and in the protologue of E. violescens in CSJ US 30: 40-42. 1958, he indicated it as its type.

US 399949 is an unnamed specimen annotated "cultivated in Washington DC. J.N. Rose, nr. 524, 1902". A small label attached to the peduncle reads :"R.E. Kunze, Arizona, 1902" what suggests that Rose had received the plant from a person in Arizona.

While the protologue reads : "Type : US : 399949, cultivated at Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.", the publication in Echeveria, 204, 1972, reads : "Type. From plant cultivated in Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C., supposedly from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico (US, no. 399949)".


It seems that because the specimen he had selected as type, was also a plant of unknown origin Walther tried to legitimise it by adding a supposed Mexican origin - a rather fraudulent practice.


2. A watercolour painting published to illustrate the text of E. violescens (Echeveria, 218,1972) is captioned thus : "Figure 114. 57. Echeveria violescens E. Walther. Plant grown in Washington. Watercolor by F.A. Walpole, titled E. gibbiflora var. metallica (Smithsonian Scientific series, volume 11, plate 21)."

However according to the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, this plate - though attributed to F.A. Walpole - is merely titled "Echeveria" and is lacking not only a Walpole nr. but also the date of its execution.

3. And last but not least, on p. 46 of Walther’s monograph, E. violescens Walther is listed under the heading : "Horticultural, uncertain and excluded names of Echeveria", synonymous with Echeveria amethystina hortorum [Graptopetalum amethystinum].


Conclusion : The name Echeveria violescens belongs to the US 399949 specimen - a plant of the most obscure origin possible and of which no description exists - and cannot be used for any plant either in cultivation or in the wild. And in view of these facts it is obvious that E. violescens Walther cannot possibly be called either a variety or a cultivar of E. gibbiflora DC.

The photos published here have nothing to do with E. violescens Walther :




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