Aylostera perplexa description

Rebutia (Aylostera) perplexa was first described by J. D. Donald in Ashingtonia 3(5 & 6): p.p. 150-2 in 1980.

The original description is given here in Latin as published, together with Donald’s English translation.

Rebutia perplexa Donald spec. nova.

Planta a Rebutia albiflora Ritt. et Rebutia pulvinosa Ritt. cognata est forma et habitus similes sunt, massae frequentes capitorum propriorum parvorum formans. Corpus viridis clarus, fere globosus vel brevicylindricus 12-15mm diametro et 12-20mm altus est, 16-18 costibus intortis leviter in tuberculis minutis, 2.5mm latis et 1.5mm altis, resolutus, et areolis rotundis pusillis 1 mm latis et 4mm inter se remotis ferrentibus 10-1 6 spinis radialibus, porrectis leviter, aureis, 1-2mm longis. Radix vadosus latopatulus, fusiformis est. Flores ex lato nascent, 30-35mm longi, 25-30mm lati a aperto maximo, rosei funditus sine vestigium album versus Rebutia narvaecensis (Card.) Don. Pericarpellus rotundus 3mm diametro est, atropurpureus, squamis triangulis minutis ferrentibus in axillo capillis saetisque brevis albis. Tubus floral is 10-12mm longus est, 2.5-3mm latus squamis similibus a pericarpello. Tepali interiores et exteriores similes est. Filamentae biseriatae et albae sunt, antheris gilvis et polline flavo. Stilus albus est, 20mm longus, connatus 8-10mm inferiore receptaculo et stigma 5 fibriata. Fructus atropurpureus est, 3-4mm diametro, squamis et saetis similibus a pericarpello. Semen parvum est, galeoformes, testa papillata et hilo basale magno ostendente gibbo insigne et Rebutia heliosa Rausch simile conjuncto est.

Habitatus putatus prope Rio Pilaya Dept. Tarija/Chuquisaca, Bolivia.

lnventa A. Lau, numero L 329A, quam in collecto rebutiae Donald agnoscita, tarde dedit.

Typus in herbario K sub numero Lau 329A.

English translation

The plant forms multi-headed clumps like R. albiflora and R. pulvinosa Ritt., with numerous small globular or short cylindrical heads 12-15mm in diameter and 15-20mm high. The epidermis is bright grass-green in colour. The body shows 16-18 slightly spiralled ribs resolved into minute tubercles 2.5mm wide and 1.5mm high, with tiny round areoles 1mm in diameter or less and 4mm apart bearing very short, not appressed nor pectinate but slightly porrect, 10-16 golden radial spines 1 -2mm long. The root system is fusiform. The flowers are 30-35mm long by 25-30mm wide at full anthesis, a deep lilac-pink in colour with no trace of any white showing in contrast to the true R. narvaecensis. The pericarp is rounded, 3mm in diameter, deep purple in colour with minute triangular scales bearing white hairs and a few short bristles in their axils; the tube is olive-mauve in colour 10-12mm long, 2.5-3mm thick, with similar scales to the pericarp also bearing a few scanty white hairs in the axils. The inner and outer perianth segments are similar, spathulate, deep lilac-pink with a deeper toned midstripe. The filaments are white and arise in two series from the upper part of the tube and corolla ring with small cream-coloured anthers and yellow pollen grains. The style is 20mm long, white, coalescent with the lower tube wall for 8-10mm and carries a 5-lobed aster like white stigma, each lobe 3mm long.

The fruit is a small dark purplish berry about 3-4mm in diameter with scales bearing a few bristles and white hairs. The seeds are small, helmet-shaped with a papillate testa and large basal hilum with a prominent micropylar hump, closely resembling that of R. heliosa.

The exact habitat is not known as Alfred Lau did not appreciate the significance of his find, assuming it to be R. pulvinosa from the Rio Pilaya. The only known survivor of this collection was sent to me with a collection of R. fiebrigii found near Minas Asientos, Cochabamba under number Lau 329. So this odd little plant was numbered Rebutia Lau 329A. Walter Rausch has pointed out that such a plant could not be reasonably expected to occur at Minas Asientos and the true habitat must be further south probably in Tarija, close to the Rio Pilaya. This remains to be confirmed. Nevertheless this plant fully deserves a description and is widely distributed now in cultivation.