Who can resist such a plumpy, minty Echeveria that blushes pink with induced stress. I find these even more delectable in pairs, or better in trios! But, what if I told you that Echeveria Ice Cream is not Echeveria Ice Cream? Would it change the way you feel about this plant?
Let's first address these sugar-coated names. Bubble Rose, Rainbow, Chardonnay, Champagne, Peach Candy, Shaviana Truffles, and Unicorn Poop. That last one wasn't a real cultivar name, but it's commonly used to refer to Cotyledon Orbiculata var Oophylla Variegata. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just google "Cotyledon cv Orbiculata Variegata". These sweet-toothed names are commonly assigned to succulents as a marketing strategy to sell. Sometimes, one person starts calling them one name and it catches on to the next until its original cultivar name is drowned and lost. For example, the lovely pink lilac Echeveria Cupid has an adorable name that fittingly works as gift meant for a special Valentine's Day sweetheart. Echeveria Cupid is also called Echeveria Lilac Spoons. Both are not its original name. Although the origin is unknown, ICN (International Crassulaceae Network, a reliable source for cultivar information) states that the original name is Graptoveria Topsy Debbi. The name was given to represent both parents: Echeveria Runyonii cv Topsy Turvy x Graptoveria Debbi. So, where did the name Echeveria Cupid come from?
But, let's discuss why I have come to believe that Echeveria Ice Cream is not really Echeveria Ice Cream. First, the flowers indicate it is a Pachyveria.
These are the flowers of a Pachyveria:
Now, let's compare that with "Echeveria Ice Cream" and its flowers:
Many different kinds of Echeverias have flowers that look awfully similar to Pachyveria flowers. One of the things that Pachyverias inherit from the Pachyphytym parent is the sepals, which are almost just as long as the petals in a Pachyveria flower. Sometimes, they're shorter if they inherit more traits of its Echeveria parent. But, what's apparent in Echeveria Ice Cream is that the sepals are just as long as its petals.
Photo source from: Royal Horticultural Society
Now, let's move on to what I believe Echeveria Ice Cream really is. Are you dying to know? Well stay tuned for the next episode of... just kidding, I won't leave you with a cliff-hanger.
The cultivar name I believe Echeveria Ice Cream is... Pachyveria Calypso.
This is a Pachyveria Calypso:
Photo by Matt Lichtenstein
Don't be discouraged by the size of those flowers. Flowers often vary in size among the same plant population as a process of natural selection (G. Candace, 1999). Think of it as two brothers that share the same parents can differ in height, weight, eye color, hair color, etc. They have similar facial features, but inherited different traits to make them unique. This occurs naturally in plants and animals when the process of natural selection chooses certain traits from the parents.
Before I dive too deep into the topic of natural selection, let's get back to comparing "Echeveria Ice Cream" and Pachyveria Calypso.
Here are pictures of the flowers:
Here is one more photo just in case you noticed the anthers were too long on the Calypso
P. Calypso by Margrit Bischofberger
Lastly, the leaves have some variation both Calypso and Ice Cream as either super round or slightly pointier. Most of the Ice Creams have rounder leaves, and could be a result of natural selection which the plant has decided to retain rounder leaves. Pachyveria Calypso could be the ancestor plant, while Echeveria Ice Cream is the byproduct of genes naturally bred out to slightly vary in leaf shape.
Arrive to whichever conclusion all this evidence has led you. The true fact is that Echeveria Ice Cream is actually a Pachyveria.
For my own purposes, I will refer to it as Pachyveria Ice Cream (aka Pachyveria Calypso). You can choose to call it whatever you want, but this plant will remain its adorable self as a Pachyveria.
Special thanks to @chubbyflora for documenting one of the first public images of a Pachyveria Ice Cream flower!