June finds us swooning over one of our succulent besties — Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’. For this post we’ll mark PVN’s heritage of sorts (well, its breeder’s) by adding the umlaut: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’. An amazing abundance of shiny hybrids have followed since ‘Perle’ arrived in the 1930s, but there’s a reason why it was a must-include in our Succulents All Time Favorites Collection on Amazon.
OK, several. First, there’s intriguing mystery surrounding the plant’s Echeveria parentage. As one dives deeper into the succulent world, opportunities arise to venture down rabbit holes, many of them dealing with genetics. Plant parents. Also, in the case of ‘Perle’, not one but two German plant mavens get credit for the plant’s creation. We’re in the camp that understands it was horticulturist and breeder Alfred Gräser who created this fabulous hybrid.
The story goes that Gräser came up with ‘Perle’ in the 1930s by crossing Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Metallica’ (no, not that Metallica) with Echeveria potosina. Today, E. potosina is widely considered to be a synonym of E. elegans. No more than a variation. Next, there’s uncertainty about what was or is the true ‘Metallica’. And it very well may be that neither ‘Perle’ parent was a true species. Hybrids, both of them! The International Crassulaceae Network credits Gräser himself for that revelation.
The ICN site has some more illuminating deets about the plant’s history, such as that right from the beginning of its introduction, “three slightly different forms … were propagated and distributed: a form with steel-blue leaves, a form with reddish leaves, and a form with silvery-gray leaves. This explains why the flowers do not resemble E. gibbiflora flowers.”
This is all fascinating stuff and reason for us to become even bigger succulent nerds, but it ultimately comes down to simple plant love — waking up in the morning or coming home from work and scurrying out to the patio or garden to see the swoon-worthy colors and symmetry. Did the buds open? Any new pups? On that note, we admire PVN’s out-of-this-world purple-pink highlights that pop from the powdery pale grayish-brown backdrop.