Atlantic Aeoniums

Walker, Colin (2021). Atlantic Aeoniums. New Zealand Cactus & Succulent Journal, 74(2) pp. 20–34.


Aeonium is a small genus of Crassulaceae comprising 39 currently recognised species. The name Aeonium is derived from the Greek ‘aionion’ meaning ‘everlasting plant’, in recognition of the succulent nature and assumed longevity of the plants. The genus has an interesting natural distribution. Most species are endemic to the Atlantic Islands where the majority occur on just a single island. Travelling eastwards, there is a single species with a very localised distribution along the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The final two species occur in tropical east to northeast Africa and Yemen. Here the 33 species that occur naturally in the Canary Islands are surveyed, together with two from Madeira and the lone species from the Cape Verde Islands. Across this wide geographical range the genus exhibits a moderate degree of diversity, ranging from small stemless rosettes that resemble houseleeks (sempervivums) to large, well-branched shrubs. Flower colour is mainly yellow, but others are white, cream, pink or red.

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