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Origin and Habitat: Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is widespread in the mountains of central Mexico, from Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí to Jalisco, Hidalgo and Queretaro. It is common where it does occur, forming large colonies; but it seems to be known from only nine places over this range.
Altitude range: Native to mountains at up to 2300 metres above sea level.
Habit: It hides in small groups in crevices or forms loose mats or dense clusters on rocks near top of mountains and in canyons together with agaves and cacti more often than not in shady spots. The nearest relative might be Graptopetalum saxifragoides - both are summer flowering plants reaching highest elevations in the mountains.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum Rose
Addisonia 7: 45 1922
CHINESE (中文): 蓝豆, 多肉植物 蓝豆
Description: Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is a low growing perennial herb with sprawling stems to 20 cm long, branched at the base. The ovate glaucous blue leaves tipped with red are massed in small rosettes at the tip of each stem. This plant is much like a very dwarf Sedum pachyphyllum, with densely arranged leaves. Flowers are also beautiful, white-green banded in dark red.
Stems: 2-8 mm thick, glaucous-green becoming tan, with short spreading or ascending branches.
Rosettes: Small often cespitose, 1.5-4.5 cm wide, of 15-50 crowded leaves or leaves more separated, especially below.
Leaves: Ovate, club-shaped, spatulate or narrowly obovate, obtuse to broadly acute, apiculate, mostly papillose at tip, (8-)10-18(-22) mm long, 4-7(-11) mm broad, 2-4(-6) mm thick, the margins rounded, the base to 2.5 mm wide. They are colourful bluish green or silver-grey that can become pink according to the season or sun exposure, commonly tipped with purplish red and covered with a greyish bloom.
Inflorescence: Flowering-stems 2.5-10 cm long, 1.5-4 mm thick constricted at base, with 6-25 ascending leaves much smaller upwards as in most Echeveria relatives, all much like the rosette leaves or even a little larger. Inflorescence lax, of 1-4 branches, each with 2-5 flowers the lower mostly fewer-flowered and often separated from others. The pedicels, though not always conspicuously long, may be longer than in any other species, even up to 4 cm, 1-1.5 mm thick below, thickening upward. Calyx 3-6(-8) mm long, 3-7(-10) mm wide, the segments appressed to corolla or slightly separated, unequal to subequal, oblong, acute, 2-8 mm long, 1-2.5 mm wide, turgid. Corolla 8-14 mm long (closed). 11-23 mm wide, greenish-white outside, the tube subpentagonal, 3-5 mm long, 4-7 mm wide, the segments imbricate in bud, widespreading or slightly upcurved in anthesis, erect on withering, triangular-lanceolate, acute, channeled ventrally, 6-10 mm long, 2.5-4.5 mm wide, whitish, sparsely red-dotted or weakly 3-7-cross-banded. Stamens reflexed after second day; filaments 6-10 mm long from corolla base, adnate 3-4 mm to corolla and slightly to intercarpellary tissue, the epipetalous flattened, 0.7-1.2 mm wide, the antesepalous slightly longer, 0.4-0.5 mm wide, 0.6-1 mm thick; anthers pink to red, broadly ovoid, 0.8-1.2 mm long. Nectar glands yellow, 0.9-1 mm wide, 0.6-0.7 mm high, 0.5-0.7 mm thick. Gynoecium obovoid, greenish or whitish below, pinkish above, 6-9 mm high, 2-2.5 mm thick at base, 3-5 mm thick above middle; pistils erect, appressed, connate 2-3 mm, the styles at first connivent, 0.6-0.8 mm long; ovules 35-60, clavate, 0.5-0.75 mm long, 0.2-0.3 mm thick, low papillose in ca. 20 lengthwise rows.
Flowers: 5-merous (rarely 6-merous), Petals c. 11-17 mm broad, creamy yellow with few red spots or with indistinct cross-bands. The corolla has perhaps less red marking and less conspicuous crossbands than any other species but Graptopetalum paraguayense.
Blooming season: Spring—late summer (in habiat June to August), in cultivation opening at intervals of ca.5-8 days, open ca. 9-11 days.
Fruits (follicles): Erect.
Chromosome number: n = 64, based on 32 rather than on 30.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Graptopetalum pachyphyllum Rose, Addisonia 7: 45, pl. 247. 1922.
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
3) Walther, E. “Illustrations in the Crassulaceae: No. 7 Graptopetalum pachyphyllum Rose.” Cact. Succ. J. 5: 577. 592, fig.1934
4) Edgar and Brian Lamb. “Pocket encyclopedia of cacti and succulents in colour” Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1976
5) Thomas H. Everett “The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture” Volume 5 Garland, 1981
6) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Volume 2. Springer, 2002
7) Graptopetalum pachyphyllum in: Cactus & Succulent Journal of America, 1990
8) Berger, A. 1930. Crassulaceae. In A. Engler, "Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien," ed. 2.18a: 352-485, figs. 183-212.
9) Kimnach, M. "Graptopetalum saxifragoides, una nueva especie de Durango." Cact. Suc. Mex. 22: 40-46, figs. 20-22.1977
10) Maxon, W. R. “Joseph Nelson Rose.” Dict. Amer. Biog. 16: 159-161.1935.
11) Moran, R. “Graptopetalum pachyphyllum.” Cact. Suc. Mex. 9: 9-11, figs. 5-6.1964.
12) Poellnitz, K. von. “Beschreibung von fünf Echeveria-Arten.” Repert. Spec. Nov. 38: 29-31.1935.
13) Rose, J. N. “Studies of Mexican and Central American Plants. No. 5”. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 10: 79-132, pl. 16-43.1906.
14) Rose, J. N. “Studies of Mexican and Central American Plants-No. 7.” Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 13: 291-312, pl. 46-67, fig. 55.1911.
15) "Graptopetalum pachyphyllum." Addisonia 7: 45, pl. 247.1922
16) Uhl, C. H. “Chromosomes of Graptopetalum and Thompsonella.” Amer. J. Bot. 57: 1115-1121, figs. 1-24.1970.
17) Uhl, C. H. “Chromosomes of Mexican Sedum, II: Section Pachysedum.” Rhodora 80: 491-512, figs. 1-30.1978.
Graptopetalum pachyphyllum Photo by: Giuseppe Distefano
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Culture of Graptopetalum pachyphyllum is fairly straightforward, it needs more shade than others in the family however it can tolerate full sun (where it stay compact) but a much better exposure is shade to light shade. It is an attractive plant in the garden when used in mass or in pockets within a rock garden and also is an easy to grow houseplant; always a favourite carefree windowsill citizen, an excellent addition to any dish garden. The plant's origin will make its rosettes tolerate heat and drought.
Exposition: Likes light shade to part sun (it will take a few hours of sun without a problem), but adapts very well to shade too. Likes a bit of shade for best colour in leaves. It can overwinters well also under grow lights in a cool room of the house.
Soil: Although it needs a soil that is gritty and porous with good drainage, the soil must be able to hold the moisture that the plant requires. The ideal soil should contain equal parts of loam with small gravel added (e.g. pumice or lava grit). Good drainage is essential.
Watering: During the summer growing period the plant appears to need much more water than the average succulent. Water when plant is dry and do not water again until the soil is completely dry again. Dislikes over-watering. Pay particular attention to make sure that they do not rot at the root from soggy soil. In a very humid situation in winter, it can rot even if totally dry. It likes dry air as much as dry soil.
Fertilization: Fertilizer should be applied only once during the growing season, diluted to ¼ the recommended rate on the label. During October to March, water very sparingly, using only enough water to keep the foliage from shrivelling.
Hardiness: It requires low temperature for flower formation and it will not flower unless it is overwintered for at least a month at 15° C or less. It is usually recommended to avoid freezing temperatures, but it can withstand temperatures down to below -5° C (or less) for short period if dry.
Pests and diseases: The tightly-packed rosettes are attractive to mealy bugs.
Uses: Perfectly suited for planting in gravel gardens, paved areas, rockeries and small containers. Try mixing with other succulents and alpines.
Propagation: It is is propagated by the division of offshoots or by individual leaves, rooted in sand or in dry vermiculite, and seed.
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