Cremnophila linguifolia

Cremnophila linguifolia

Scientific Name

Cremnophila linguifolia (Lemaire) Moran


Echeveria linguifolia, Anacampseros linguifolia, Cotyledon linguaefolia, Cotyledon linguifolia, Pachyphytum lingua

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Cremnophila


Cremnophila linguifolia is a glabrous, perennial succulent, with fibrous roots, stems pendent from cliffs and few branches. The rosettes are with 15 to 25 leaves and up to 7 inches (17.5 cm) in diameter. The leaves are green and not glaucous, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long, up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) wide and with rounded margins. The inflorescences are particularly long and horizontal or pendent. The flowers are white or greenish.


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Most of the common Echeveria species are not complicated succulents to grow, provided you follow a few basic rules. First, be careful never to let water sit in the rosette as it can cause rot or fungal diseases that will kill the plant. Additionally, remove dead leaves from the bottom of the plant as it grows. These dead leaves provide a haven for pests and Echeveria are susceptible to mealy bugs. As with all succulents, careful watering habits and plenty of light will help ensure success.

Most Echeveria can be easily propagated from leaf cuttings, although a few are better from seeds or stem cuttings. To propagate a leaf cutting, place the individual leaf in a succulent or cacti mix and cover the dish until the new plant sprouts.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a succulent, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Echeveria


Cremnophila linguifolia is native to Mexico.


  • x Cremneria 'Chubbs'
  • x Cremneria 'Expatriata'
  • x Cremneria 'Mutabilis'


  • Back to genus Cremnophila
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Several studies have shown that greater resolution and support for phylogenetic estimations is achieved by increasing characters and/or taxon representation (Graybeal, 1998 Hillis, 1998 Soltis et al., 1998 Bremer et al., 1999). Our study confirms the importance of adding characters, because relationships among the species of Graptopetalum and allied genera are better resolved when the four DNA regions sequenced are analyzed together. Our results also corroborate the results of previous studies (Baldwin and Markos, 1998 Clevinger and Panero, 2000 Beardsley and Olmstead, 2002 Andreasen and Baldwin, 2003) by confirming that the ETS region is an excellent choice for studies at the interspecific level because it has a higher number of parsimony‐informative sites than the ITS or other sequences.

This study is also the first to employ rpl16 sequence data for Crassulaceae. The presence of a large deletion in this gene region (missing data equal to the complete intron) may have had a negative effect on the analysis, but it is present in taxa that appear to belong to different subclades according to the ITS, ETS, and combined trees. It seems to be a homoplasious character. In fact, loss of the intron was not even observed for closely related species of the same genus (e.g., Cremnophila nutans is missing the intron, but its sister species, C. ligulifolia, is not). This large deletion was found in eight species of Graptopetalum belonging to different subclades. In a preliminary analysis, we coded this deletion and other gaps as separate characters, as suggested by Simmons and Ochoterena (2000). However, this strategy had no effect on the overall tree topology.

Despite using the combination of four data sets, the number of parsimony‐informative characters was still not sufficient to resolve all relationships among the taxa studied, and only a few subclades received bootstrap support (>50%). Mort et al. (2001) suggested two possible reasons for finding so many unresolved polytomies in their phylogenetic study of the “Acre clade” of Crassulaceae. Their cladistic analysis used the chloroplast matK gene, and they mentioned the possibility that intergeneric hybridization could make for frequent chloroplast exchange among taxa, thus severely affecting chloroplast phylogenies. Two of the gene regions in our study, rpl16 and trnL‐F, are from the chloroplast genome. Furthermore, a variable chromosome number has been reported for 11 Graptopetalum species, ranging from n = 30 to 270 (Uhl, 1970). This large variation in chromosome numbers is indicative of polyploidy and hybridization. However, polyploidy has never been evaluated in a scientific manner in Graptopetalum. Crassulaceae is easily hybridized in cultivation, but there is no empirical evidence for the hybrid origin of any of the species, and nearly all Graptopetalum species were wild collected. One reason that both plastid and nuclear genes were chosen was to look for obvious evidence for such a phenomenon in the resulting trees, but this was not found. Moreover, the current geographic distribution and isolation of the species (with the exception of one widespread species) tend to favor against hybrid origins.

Mort et al. (2001) also considered that the “Acre clade” is a group of relatively recent origin, and this would account for the low levels of variation as seen in our results as well. In our study, incongruence between data partitions was restricted to the positions of only three species of Graptopetalum: G. grande, G. pusillum, and G. saxifragoides. However, their alternative positions did not receive strong bootstrap support, suggesting soft rather than hard conflicting phylogenetic signal.

In the combined DNA analysis, we recovered a topology in which at least three major clades of Graptopetalum are evident. Within these clades, only four smaller subgroups of Graptopetalum species receive bootstrap support (>50%), but these largely correlate with the geographic distribution of the species. Graptopetalum glassii, G. superbum, and G. pentandrum form a well‐supported clade that is also present in all most parsimonious trees obtained with ETS and ITS data sets alone. Morphological analyses (Acevedo‐Rosas and Cházaro, 2003 Acevedo‐Rosas et al., 2004) also recover this monophyletic group, which is characterized by flowers with only one whorl of stamens. These three species are confined to the states of Colima, Jalisco, and Michoacán in west‐central Mexico. They appear to be closely related to species of Cremnophila, Echeveria, and Sedum, as well as other Graptopetalum species such as G. fruticosum and G. marginatum, which are also from the west‐central Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit. The second supported subclade consists of G. bernalense, G. paraguayense, and G. mendozae. These three species are geographically restricted to the states of Tamaulipas and northern Veracruz in east‐central Mexico. The third subclade contains Tacitus bellus, Graptopetalum bartramii, G. suaveolens, and G. craigii. These species are restricted to Sonora, Chihuahua, and Durango in northwestern Mexico and are sister to the pair of G. filiferum and G. rusbyi, which are also restricted in their range to the extreme northwest of Mexico and Arizona. This clade of six species is sister to another group of species, G. pusillum, G. saxifragoides (both from Durango as well), and the widespread G. pachyphyllum.

These subclades do not correspond to the two sections of Graptopetalum defined by Moran (1984). Species placed in section Byrnesia (caulescent species) as well as those classified in section Graptopetalum (acaulescent species) are distributed throughout the cladogram. For example, the acaulescent species G. marginatum is sister to G. fruticosum, one of the caulescent species. If we are to accept these gene tree topologies, then the separate lineages of Graptopetalum species cannot be characterized by those morphological characters that Acevedo‐Rosas et al. (2004) found to be synapomorphic. Among these characters are habit, flower fragrance, color of petals, and position of petal maculae. Tacitus bellus has large flowers with colorful, dark pink petals that lack spots. It is also aromatic and grouped with G. bartramii, G. suaveolens, and G. craigii, all of which have whitish petals. It seems, therefore, that geography rather than habit or flower morphology may be a better indicator of phylogenetic relationships within this group. The acaulescent and caulescent habits appear to have evolved independently from ancestors native to different geographic areas, perhaps to fill vacant ecological niches within each of these isolated environments. Most Graptopetalum species are found in semiarid vegetation, and populations are usually isolated on rocky hills of ravines in these habitats (Acevedo‐Rosas et al., 2004).

Our results clearly indicate that Graptopetalum is not monophyletic as currently circumscribed (trees 28 steps longer find the genus monophyletic). However, they do not conclusively indicate the exact composition of the genus. The type species of the genus is G. pusillum, but this species is in a group that did not receive bootstrap support (>50%). Cremnophila and apparently some species of Sedum and Echeveria are embedded within Graptopetalum, but we have not sampled those large genera well enough to know which ones and how many. The monotypic genus Tacitus (T. bellus) is also embedded within Graptopetalum and probably should not be considered a separate genus. As mentioned, T. bellus has been difficult to classify because of its unique and horticulturally prized flowers, which are almost certainly not fly‐pollinated as are most Graptopetalum species. Tacitus bellus has been considered a species of Graptopetalum by some authors (Hunt, 1979), and its close relationship to G. suaveolens in our trees is supported by their similar aromatic floral fragrance.

Shifts in pollinator syndromes (e.g., from fly to bee) leading to convergent flower morphologies have been documented in many other groups of flowering plants (e.g., Hapeman and Inoue, 1997 Borba et al., 2002). These shifts may help to explain the patterns observed in Graptopetalum as well. Variation in color and distribution of bands over petals and dissimilar fragrances in same groups of Graptopetalum suggest that different pollinator syndromes exist. However, due to the remote places in which most Graptopetalum species grow, no evidence on pollination biology has been gathered.

More data from additional gene regions with high levels of variation are needed ultimately to address the question of which species should be included in Graptopetalum. Greater taxon sampling is needed as well, especially from within the large and problematic genera Echeveria and Sedum within the “Acre” clade. Nevertheless, this study sheds new light on interpretations of systematic relationships within Crassulaceae and the role that geography, habitat, pollinators, and other ecological factors may play in driving the evolution of these succulents.

Table 1. DNA site variation and tree statistics for the three data sets used in the cladistic analyses presented in this study. CI = consistency index HI = homoplasy index RI = retention index RC = rescaled consistency index


This is no new species but a completely unnecessary renaming of Cremnophila linguifolia (Lemaire) Moran.

Alas, no new species in genus Cremnophila !

The plant today known as Cremnophila linguifolia was described by Lemaire in 1863 as an Echeveria species. It was a plant of unknown origin cultivated in Belgium. 6 years later, in 1869, Baker completed Lemaire's description and stated that the plant was native of Mexico. For about 100 years it was never found in the wild and remained a mystery. Some authors even speculated that it might be of hybrid origin.

It was only in 1962 that Padre Hans Fittkau, visiting the ruins of Malinalco in the South of Toluca, happened to see it growing there. Later it was also found in the Barranca de Mexicarpa, 10 km east of Malinalco.

In 1968 Reid Moran published a full account of the rediscovery of E. longuifolia as well as a detailed description of the plant in Spanish language in Cact Suc Mex 13:67-70, based on plants collected on sheer north facing cliffs just SW of Malinalco and in the Barranca de Mexicarpa. 10 years later the same extensive description was also published in English language in CSJ US where Moran resurrected genus Cremnophila Rose to accommodate Sedum cremnophila and Echeveria linguifolia.

While plants of E. linguifolia in cultivation - all descending from the single clone brought to Europe some time before Lemaire described it - of course were almost not variable, plants collected in the wild at the two above mentioned localities display a remarkable variability : Leaves can be from as small as 4 x 2 cm to as big as 9 x 5.5 cm and - according to Moran - even inflorescences and flowers can differ from one plant to another.

Since its resurrection in 1978 genus Cremnophila, consisting of only two species, has remained unaltered. So it was no little surprise when in 2015 in Cact Suc Mex 60(1):19-28 a new species of Cremnophila was published. An in-depth study of the lengthy article (penned by Jerónimo Reyes Santiage, Avila Serratos Mauricio & Brachet Ize Christian) however soon revealed that we rejoiced too soon : The plant described and illustrated and named Cremnophila tlahuicana originates from the Barranca de Mexicarpa, that means from the very same locality as one of the two collections on which Moran based his description of E. linguifolia. While the list of references at the end of their article includes Moran's 1978 publication, it is obvious that they did not study it carefully, otherwise they would have learnt that the Barranca de Mexicarpa is not a new locality.

By means of a comparative table the three authors aim to distinguish their newly named plant from C. linguifolia. Wherefrom they had gathered the data for the latter is unclear, certainly not from Moran's description. Why they failed to consult it in view of the fact that a Spanish version is available, is incomprehensible. If they had done so they would have noted that their "new" plant clearly remains within the range of variability of C. linguifolia - as of course is to be expected of a plant collected at the same locality . Paraphrasing William Shakespeare : Much ado about nothing .

- Moran R. 1968. Echeveria linguaefolia redescubierta. Cact Suc Mex 13.67-70

- Moran R. 1978. Resurrection of Cremnophila. CSJ US 50:139-146

- Reyes, Avila & Brachet 2015. Una nueva especie del género Cremnophila (Crassulaceae) en el Estado de México, México. Cact Suc Mex 60(1):19-28

First published in Sedum Society Newsletter No. 118, July 2016.

LINGUIFOLIA (Lemaire) Moran, 1975 (engl./ fr.)

Echeveria linguifolia Lemaire (1863) / Cotyledon linguifolia (Lemaire) Baker (1869)

Anacampseros linguifolia Hort. ex Lemaire (1863)

Talinum linguiforme Hort. ex Lemaire (1863)

Pachyphytum lingua Hort. ex Morren (1874)

Distribution : Mexico (México : Malinalco, Mexicapa) ca 1900 m.

Description (according to R. Moran) :

Caudex to 1 m or more long, 1 - 2.5 cm thick, green becoming brown, the leaf sites oval, ca. 10 - 12 mm wide and 7 - 9 mm high, the attachment scar elliptic, brown, ca. 5 - 7 mm wide and 1 - 2 mm high.

Rosettes lax, 6 - 17 cm wide, of 15 - 25 leaves or the leaves sometimes as many as 40 and scattered over as much as 2.5 dm of caudex.

Leaves green and not glaucous, obovate or obovate-cuneate to oblong-spatulate, rounded to obtuse, 4 - 9 cm long, 1.5 - 5.5 cm wide, 7 - 14 mm thick, flattish to slightly concave ventrally, convex to rounded dorsally, in some faintly keeled, the base 8 - 13 mm wide, 6 - 12 mm thick.

Floral stems first appearing May to July, flowering between December and May, light green, 1.5 - 3.5 (-5.5) dm long (including inflorescence), the peduncle stiff, ascending to deflexed, 1 - 2.5 (-4) dm long, 5 - 11 mm thick at base, with 4 - 20 leaves leaves somewhat ascending, elliptic-oblong, obtuse to rounded, 1.5 - 3.5 cm long, 8 - 19 mm wide, 4 - 12 mm thick, convex ventrally, rounded dorsally.

Thyrse flexible, pendent, glaucous, 6 - 16 cm long, 3 - 6 cm wide, of ca 20 - 70 flowers, the branches 15 - 35, the upper ones and often a few lowermost one-flowered, the rest cincinni of 2 - 5 flowers each, somewhat circinate. Pedicels 2 - 4 (in solitary and terminal flowers -10) mm long, 1 - 2 mm thick.

Flowers : Calyx 6 - 13 mm long, 4.5 - 9 mm wide, the disk ca 4 - 6 mm wide, the sepals erect, somewhat unequal, triangular-lanceolate, rounded to subacute, 4 - 12 mm long, 1.5 - 5 mm wide, very slightly imbricate in young buds but soon open, the sinuses narrowly V-shaped with sides parallel above, closed after anthesis. Corolla white or greenish, pentagonal with ± flat sides, 6 - 11 mm long, 4 - 7 mm wide, the petals nearly distinct though slightly united by the adnate filaments, erect, triangular-lanceolate, acute, keeled, 2 - 4 mm wide, in bud induplicate-valvate in lower two-thirds, imbricate above. Filaments greenish white, 5 - 8 mm long, ca. 0.7 mm wide at base, the epipetalous adnate ca 1 mm, the antesepalous ca 0.5 mm anthers light yellow, ovoid, apiculate, ca 1.5 mm long. Nectar glands yellowish green, appressed against the pistils, ca 1.5 mm wide and 0.4 mm high.

Echeveria linguifolia Lemaire (1863) / Cotyledon linguifolia (Lemaire) Baker (1869)

Anacampseros linguifolia Hort. ex Lemaire (1863)

Talinum linguiforme Hort. ex Lemaire (1863)

Pachyphytum lingua Hort. ex Morren (1874)

Distribution : Mexique (México : Malinalco, Mexicapa) vers 1900 m.

Description (selon R. Moran dans IHSP, 2003) :

Tige jusqu'à 1m et plus, 1 – 2,5 cm de diamètre.

Rosette 6 – 17 cm de diamètre avec 15 – 25 feuilles.

Feuilles cunées-obovales à oblongues, arrondies ou obtuses, 4 – 9 x 1,5 – 5,5 cm.

Inflorescence 15 – 55 cm.

Fleurs : Sépales 4 – 12 x 1,5 – 5 mm, pétales droits, blancs ou verdâtres, 6 – 11 x 2 – 4 mm, indupliqués et ne se chevauchant pas.

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