Hechtia lanata - A medium sized clustering terrestrial bromeliad to 18 inches tall with tight groupings of 12 to 18 inch wide rosettes of broad short succulent silvery green leaves that curl under at the tips and with prominent spine tipped scallops along the margins. These leaves are often covered with scurfy hairs on the upper surface when first emerging and are densely wooly on the lower surface, but as the leaves age the upper surface usually becomes more glabrous and a light green color or sometimes takes on interesting reddish tones. In late winter on a terminal inflorescence rising up several feet above the center of the are borne the small male or female white flowers (Hechtia are dioecious) on sleder reddish branches off the main inflorescence stalk.
Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate infrequently. Has proven hardy to 25 °F. A very unique and attractive plant that fits in well with other succulents in the garden or in large containers.
Hechtia lanata grows naturally on rocks and cliff faces (making it a lithophyte) in the Tehuantepec District of southeastern Oaxaca from 2,700 4,400 feet elevation. A particularly nice site with this plan in abundance is from the mountains above Santiago Lachiguiri and a plant collected from this location have been designated as its neotype. The genus is named by the German botanist Johann Friedrich Klotzsch, who was curator and later director of the Royal Herbarium in Berlin for Julius Gottfried Conrad Hecht (1771–1837), another German botanist and a counselor to the King of Prussia. The specific epithet means "woolly".
Though this species was originally described 1961 by Smithsonian botanist Lyman Smith in the journal Phytologia, the accompanying illustrations and descriptions of the 1957 collected plant did not describe it adequately and the collection location was vague (or perhaps even incorrect), so that those later encountering the plant did not recognized it to be this species and for many years plants in collections were just identified as Hechtia species. in 2012 in the journal Botanical Sciences titled "Neotipificación de Hechtia lanata (Bromeliaceae; Hechtioideae), especie endémica de Oaxaca, México" a more complete description was included with a specimen Santiago Lachiguiri designated as the neotype. With this new information plants in cultivation that were previously unidentified were determined to be this species.
Information about Hechtia lanata displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.