Bessera elegans (purple form)

Dennis Szeszko
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 12:22:41 PDT
I have seen the purple form of Bessera elegans in the field here in Mexico
and they grow in the same sunny fields alongside the standard orange color
form.  They should start blooming within a few weeks and I will try to post
some in-situ pictures of this variety.  They grow alongside the edge of the
highway and are strikingly evident even when whizzing by at 50 mph.  The
plants I have seen are much DARKER than the one that is pictured in Diana's
blog.  I will also be posting pictures of a plant of Tigrida vanhouttei that
I collected last year that is just about to bloom.

I took a look at the PBS Wiki to find out about Petronymphe decora that
Diana also mentions.  I had never heard about this plant until today.
Interestingly, I was at the locality for this plant (Acahuizotla, Guerrero)
back in March of this year while I was looking for epiphytic orchids.  The
plants were dormant at that time but I know exactly where the cliffs are
that the Wiki describes.  It is fascinating that there are pockets of
biodiversity even within such a biodiverse country as Mexico.  I think that
we (bulb aficionados) are accustomed to seeing distribution maps of species
that encompass hundreds of miles, but there are many species that are known
only from a pinpoint on a map: a single locality.  Indeed, Acahuizotla is
also a famous locality for epiphytic orchids.  There are several species
that are extremely rare (and beautiful) and only grow near Acahuizotla.
These include Mormodes oestlundiana and Rhynchostele londesboroughiana.  How
many people know that within those 10 square miles around that town that
there are so many rare plants?  While in Acahuizotla, I also had an
opportunity to see the wild-type of Euphorbia pulcherrima growing in-situ.
I'm sure most of you know this plant as the "Christmas Poinsettia", a dainty
pot plant 12 inches high with floral bracts 6 inches in length.  But in the
wild it grows 9-12 feet high with a little disk of red bracts scarcely 2
inches in diameter.    Amazing...

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