I felt it was time to address the names given to what we buy and how we go about purchasing our stock. Common rares (lol, is that a thing?) such as Opalina, Black Prince, Bluebird are standardized and recognized breeds and their names are the same everywhere. Some have even been patented with a portion of all residual sales going back to the original creator.
We are trying to stay away from the common types because you can find these types of plants most everywhere. While we sprinkle some of these in our mix, but generally speaking we try to reserve that for specimen quality plants or variegates.
Enter hybrids. Hybrids are simply a new species of succulent created by cross-pollination and then are grown from seed.
Hybrids range from simple hybrids to very complex hybrids. Let's start with an easy one, such as the Japanese HAKUHOU, which is two recognized species of echeverias cross-pollinated while in bloom with one another to create a new species. The resulting offspring is then given in a name and if it is popular will eventually have a recognized classification of its own and in the case of the Japanese HAKUHOU is now a widely recognized and widely grown cultivar.
Lauii + Pallida= HAKUHOU (at one point the number of HAKUHOUs were pretty small, but now it's a widely recognized species with predictable growth traits).
Less Simple Crosses:
The next type of hybrid you can encounter is one recognized parent crossed with a non-recognized hybrid:
Recognized Species + Hybrid= New Hybrid (but an easily replicated hybrid that could easily be copied)
The hybrids we purchase are not generally simple hybrids. We have meticulously crafted a collection of farms that specialize in growing hybrids. Some of these farms will take a cross and mix it with another cross and create a new species that has crossbred parents on both sides.
Hybrid A + Hybrid B= A/B Hybrid (nearly impossible to identify original parents, unless the grower tells you what their secret sauce is).
This results in non-recognized species and some of the most rare and beautiful plants in the world. They literally give us access to only two or three at a time because they're wanting to keep the stock scarce until they have enough breeding stock to release them in larger numbers.
(Pictured above is a complex hybrid type, A Maleficent crossed with another unknown hybrid).
The farms have to name these plants in the meantime in order to keep some type of accurate records (they grow them for a few years and notate stability, mutations and their ability to reproduce them with true-to-type traits) and account for sales. They will generally make a few of their special hybrids available here and there and we try to snag all of the exceptional ones for our site.
The names given to these hybrids are picked by the farms themselves. We have never 'invented' a name for the sake of this site, we always denote the plants we don't know as 'Unknown' or give you the exact name that the farms give us. We don't have to invent names for the sake of titles. We have internal skus and I can trace every single plant sale we've had on here back to the original farm the plant originated from. We have very thorough records for the sake of special requests and reorders.
There was one period where a farm told us a Lilacina Hybrid was a Superbum Hybrid and we did continue to use that in the title for a while so you could search past plants of this same type in the search results, but we made sure to denote this error in our listing description.
Fortunately for us we have a pretty wide audience of succulent collectors and we don't have to carry just the recognized species, we like to do some special things here. Hybrids are fun, beautiful and sometimes nearly one of a kind.
We always do our best in taxonomy, but I am not a botanist nor do I speak Korean well. Even well-versed experts in Crassulaceae have a hard time identifying parentage by a simple visual inspection. The sub-genus of Echeveria hybridizes so readily it makes field identification very tricky. So, it's a learn-as-you-go thing for me, as well as the experts. I have a passion for these little chubby guys and I just wanted to share that with our customers and friends.
If I get something wrong I try to correct it next time. Obviously as more time progresses I will inch my way closer to being a master in identification, but no one is ever a total expert. I can tell you this is my life for about 16 hours a day, every single day. So I have a pretty firm grasp on what I'm doing, but I am human and mistakes are sometimes made. And I have never claimed to know the entire subfamily of Echeveria.
I trust what these farms tell us -- I have to, they're my business partners and some of these growers have become friends of mine. I know this is a big industry for them and I consider them masters of their field. But, sometimes things are lost in translation so we do the best we can. I hope that gives you a better understanding of why things are named what they are and why some of the names are different.
And if you think we've gotten something wrong, drop us an email. We'll do our best to research it in between uploads and shipping. We're always looking to improve.