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Plantidote of the Day 2013-01-29

twig's picture


Mystery succulent

This one may be an acquired taste, but I really like this plant. It's so odd and interesting. And those colors! However, I don't know the name of this plant. If you do, please leave a comment. It would be much appreciated!


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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Average: 5 (1 vote)


goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

It looks like a Georgia O'Keefe-esque explosive botanical slash not so subtle reference to female labia. It should make church ladies squirm in their straight backed pews.

JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

From what I can glean with the Google, it's:

  • An echeveria of some sort
  • Very likely has the common name "Blue curls"

They seem to vary from having relatively smooth leaves to very curled, knobby ones. I have no idea why.
Yes, they are delightfully weird :)

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Sounds good to me, thanks, JoeInSF! I couldn't even figure out what to google -- "succulent" with "cauliflower," "brain," or "bumpy" went nowhere. You must have found the right combination!

LD's picture
Submitted by LD on

Hi twig--Peaked my curiosity with this one. Thanks in advance. Got me studying/thinking, especially after JoeInSF identified Echevaria 'Blue Curls.'

Question: The picture is very close up, but off to the upper-left of the photo appear to be blue grape-shaped looking succulent "leaflets." Is this also part of the same plant? And thusly, is the focused part of the picture actually the flowering stem-structure coming up from the main pebbles-looking leaflets off to the upper left?

If so, I've looked around for about an hour to identify the succulent I've seen several times at various places at plant shows/nurseries/etc, that is a hybrid of two succulent species. I've looked and looked for what I've seen, and can't find it. I think cause it's known mostly by succulent collectors. Where did you see it/take the picture from? Potted? Greenhouse?

The hybrid species I suspect would be based on 1-Graptopetalum amethystinum for the "leaflets" ( AND 2-Echevaria 'Blue Curls' for the flowering structure ( to make this bumpy-wavy leafed as-yet-flowering stalk off the main 'pebbles' plant.

The "give" on is the bumps all over the leaflets in the photo. That's not a feature of Echevaria 'Blue Curls,' but rather more likely indicative of Graptopetalum sp. "mixed in" so to speak via hybridization.

And if those "pebbles" off to the upper left aren't part of the plant...then I'll have to defer my remark to the late Emily Litella... "Never mind."

JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

Great research! Sounds logical to me. I have a planter of the blue curl variety, but they don't have the bumpy texture. A planter box up the street has some that look like the ones in Twig's picture. I always guessed that the bump comes with age or exposure to something. I never considered that they might be a hybrid.
(I really need to hold on to those little name tags that come with plants!)

LD's picture
Submitted by LD on

Thanks JoeInSF-Echeveria was what tipped me off. I searched Echeveria, Crassula, Graptoveria...and others. Still could not find the hybrid. So, I guessed (some experience with such things helps.) But without those little plant name tags, that I too search for all. the. time, it's still...a mystery (on a Tue no yet!)

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

This is a cultivated variety where some cells undergo abnormal growth and produce those (to me :) ) hideous bumps. The wild type has smooth leaves, but a similar beautiful reddish-magenta tinge.

Hi! Stumbled on this last night and saw you ID request. Perhaps since this posting you've found your answer...the name of this succulent is Echeveria Paul Bunyan. I saw it for the first time last year at Descanso Gardens gift shop, located in La Cañada Flintridge, California. It certainly is a interesting plant...caught my eye!