Dudleya cymosa

(Lemaire) Britton & Rose

New N. Amer. Crassul., 21. 1903 ,.

Common names: Canyon liveforever or dudleya rock-lettuce
Basionym: Echeveria cymosa Lemaire Rev. Hort. 7: 439. 1858
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 8. Treatment on page 180. Mentioned on page 173, 178, 179, 182, 183, 185, 188.

Caudices mostly simple or sometimes branched apically and cespitose, 0.1–5 × (0.2–)1–3.5 cm, axillary branches absent. Leaves persistent (withering in early summer in subsp. marcescens); rosettes 1–3, in clumps or not, 5–25-leaved, (3–)6–15(–35) cm diam.; blade green or gray-blue, usually oblanceolate or oblong-oblanceolate, rhombic-oblanceolate, oblong, elliptic, or ovate, to spatulate, sometimes oblong-triangular, 1.5–12(–17) × 0.5–4(–6) cm, 1–5 mm thick, base 0.5–3 cm wide, apex acute to acuminate or cuspidate or subobtuse, surfaces sometimes farinose, mostly glaucous. Inflorescences: cyme 2–4-branched, mostly obpyramidal; branches not twisted (flowers on topside), simple or 1–3 times bifurcate, less often also with lateral branches; cincinni 1–2(–3+), 1–6(–20)-flowered, circinate, 1–5(–17) cm; floral shoots 4–30(–50) × 0.1–0.8 cm; leaves 5–25(–50), spreading to ascending, blade cordate-ovate to triangular-lanceolate, 4–20(–50) × 4–10(–15) mm, apex acute to acuminate. Pedicels erect, not bent in fruit, usually 5–15 mm. Flowers: calyx 3–6 × 3–6 mm; petals connate 1–2.5 mm, pale or bright yellow, mustard yellow, or red, 7–14 × 1.5–4.5 mm, apex mostly narrowly acute, tips often outcurved; pistils connivent, erect. Unripe follicles erect. 2n = 34.


Subspecies 8 (8 in the flora).

Dudleya cymosa, a widespread diploid, is the only species of the genus in most parts of inland central and northern California; it also extends into the mountains of southern California. It forms clumps to 7 dm in diameter. Early floras misapplied to it the name Echeveria laxa Lindley (or Cotyledon laxa). It is clearly distinct from other species but is highly variable locally as well as from one area to another. Although some narrowly endemic subspecies seem almost distinct, most subspecies are ill-defined and their circumscriptions arbitrary. Much more study is needed.

Selected References



1 Rosette leaves withering in summer, blade 1.5-3(-5) × 0.5-1.5 cm; caudices 0.2-0.7 cm diam.; cincinni 1-2. Dudleya cymosa subsp. marcescens
1 Rosette leaves persistent, blade 1.5-17 × 0.5-6 cm; caudices 0.5-3.5 cm diam.; cincinni 3+ > 2
2 Floral shoots 20-50-leaved; rosette leaf blades elliptic to spatulate, 4-10(-15) × 2-5 cm. Dudleya cymosa subsp. crebrifolia
2 Floral shoots 5-20(-30)-leaved; rosette leaf blades ovate, elliptic, oblong, rhombic-oblanceolate or oblong-oblanceolate to oblanceolate or oblong-triangular or spatulate, 1.5-17 × 0.5-6 cm > 3
3 Petals pale yellow; rosette leaf blades 0.5-2 cm wide. Dudleya cymosa subsp. paniculata
3 Petals bright yellow to red; rosette leaf blades 1-6 cm wide > 4
4 Rosettes 5-10(-25)-leaved, blade 2-10 × 1-2.5 cm, apex acute to acuminate; petals bright yellow, sometimes marked with red > 5
4 Rosettes usually 10-25-leaved, blades 1.5-17 × 1-6 cm, apex often short-acuminate to cuspidate, sometimes acute; petals bright yellow to red > 6
5 Leaf blades green, often with maroon abaxially; caudices simple; floral shoots 4-15 cm. Dudleya cymosa subsp. ovatifolia
5 Leaf blades blue-gray on both surfaces; caudices simple or mostly cespitosely 1-5-branched; floral shoots 10-20 cm. Dudleya cymosa subsp. agourensis
6 Floral shoots 15-45 cm; cincinni 4-17 cm, 5-20-flowered; rosette leaf blades farinose, 4-17 cm; petals red. Dudleya cymosa subsp. gigantea
6 Floral shoots 5-30 cm; cincinni mostly 1-6 cm, 3-10-flowered; rosette leaf blades sometimes farinose, 1.5-12 cm; petals bright yellow to red > 7
7 Rosette leaf blades 3-12 × 1-5.5 cm; floral shoots 5-30 cm. Dudleya cymosa subsp. cymosa
7 Rosette leaf blades 1.5-5(-10) × 1-3(-6) cm; floral shoots 5-15 (-25) cm. Dudleya cymosa subsp. pumila