ISI 2009-10. Aeonium ‘Jack Catlin’ Lyons

This newly named cultivar honors the late John Catlin (known to many of his friends as Jack) who died in June, 2008 at the age of 89. Jack was accomplished in many fields. He was a talented artist, like one of his ancestors, George Catlin, known for his illustrations of native Americans during the mid 1800s. In Jack’s case, he applied his skill with colored pencils to illustrating some of his many beautiful hybrids of Abutilon. Among succulent collectors he is better known for his hybridization of Aeonium, which yielded a number of desirable, dark-leaved selections from crosses with A. arboreum ‘Zwartkop’. One of those crosses involved A. tabuliforme, from which Jack hoped to get a dark-leaved plant with flattened rosettes. Of the three clones that Jack retained, one came closest to this goal. It was distributed as A. ‘Zwartkin’, ISI 1731 (misspelled ‘Zwartkind’ in the original list and misspelled again as ‘Zwartkint’ by H Mays in his attempt to correct it in his ISI Directory). Alas, A. ‘Zwartkin’ was rather weak and is now lost in the Huntington Desert Garden. The third clone was green and no particular improvement on either parent. The second clone was the charm, even if not in the way intended. It has proven to be very vigorous and has succeeded brilliantly in the Desert Garden such that it has been propagated for mass planting in numerous beds. Its rosettes are larger than those of A. arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ and more cupped than A. tabuliforme. Its value lies in it rich reddish coloration, which appears as new growth hardens off in spring, as well as its relative tolerance of summer heat. Gary Lyons suggested the cultivar name as a fitting tribute to the man who created so many garden-worthy aeoniums. Rooted cuts of HBG 73035. $8.

Photo © 2009 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 81 (2), March - April, 2009