Aechmea Purple Gem
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Aechmea Purple Gem
cv. of weilbachii X lueddemanniana by Nat DeLeon, registered by Geoff Lawn.

N.B. This plant had been wrongly identified as "Valencia" in Sydney, and on this web site.
Valencia is a cv. of penduliflora X ramosa by Nally,J. See notes below.
Ian Hook, Sydney 06/07.
Leaves 80cm long.
Notes from Geoff Lawn -
"Your suspicion is correct----the BSA website photos of so-called Ae. 'Valencia' are ALL 'Purple Gem'. Granted, both can have reddish foliage but the differences are:

'Purple Gem'---is more pliant, less spiny leaves. Inflorescence is more arching, even semi-pendant (from the weilbachii parent, probably the salmon-leaved var. leodiensis), with less branching, purple ovaries, lavender petals. Reasonably hardy. It was circulating around Australia under parentage only in the 1990s so by 2000 I thought it high time to register a cultivar name which the hybridist Nat Deleon failed to do.

'Valencia'-- is spinier and more leathery-leaved and in some climates/light the foliage turns a bronzy orange shade. Inflorescence is more upright, heavier branching (parent name Ae.ramosa means "branched"), ovaries cream or yellow, petals cream. More cold-sensitive (parent Ae. penduliflora is from lowland Amazonia, originally named because of the pendant inflorescence, but later-discovered clones had upright spikes).

Nally's Ae.''Valencia' has been around since 1962, registered in 1971, whereas Deleon's weilbachii x lueddemanniana is circa 1980. Here in Perth Ae. 'Purple Gem' under parentage arrived before 'Valencia', the latter is less common in collections here and harder to grow well.

Updated 11/11/07