1. Family: Commelinaceae Mirb.
    1. Genus: Weldenia Schult.f.
      1. Weldenia candida Schult.f.

        Weldenia candida is an unusual, tuberous-rooted species found in the high mountains of Guatemala and Mexico. It is the only species in the genus, and was first described in 1829 and named in honour of Baron Ludwig von Welden (1780-1853), a Master of Ordnance in the Austrian army. Weldenia candida first came to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from Guatemala, where it was collected in the crater of the Volcan de Agua.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    Weldenia candida grows naturally on volcanic slopes and craters, and was first introduced to cultivation in 1893.

    Weldenia candida is an unusual, tuberous-rooted species found in the high mountains of Guatemala and Mexico. It is the only species in the genus, and was first described in 1829 and named in honour of Baron Ludwig von Welden (1780-1853), a Master of Ordnance in the Austrian army. Weldenia candida first came to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from Guatemala, where it was collected in the crater of the Volcan de Agua.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Weldenia candida is native to the high mountains of Mexico and Guatemala.

    Description

    The linear-lanceolate (the shape of a lance, much longer than wide) leaves are only a few centimetres long when the plant is flowering, but can subsequently elongate to over 20 cm. They may be glabrous (hairless) but are often hairy, particularly on their undersides. Small tufts of whitish hairs are sometimes borne on the upper leaf surface, particularly in the Guatemalan forms.

    The inflorescence (flower cluster) is a compacted cyme (a flower cluster in which the central flowers open first) at the centre of the rosette of leaves. The three-petalled flowers have a distinctive, long corolla (petal) tube, 4.0-6.5 cm long. The petal lobes are 1-2 cm long, so that each of the delicate white flowers can reach 4 cm wide. Individual flowers last only a day but are produced in succession over several weeks in late spring.

    Uses

    Weldenia candida is cultivated as an ornamental.

    Cultivation

    Weldenia candida can be grown in the open garden in a raised bed or sunny border, but it is generally advisable to protect it from penetrating frosts and winter rainfall by keeping it in deep pots in a sunny and well-ventilated cold frame or cool glasshouse. This plant dies down for the winter and new growth will not appear until early spring.

    Seed is hardly ever set in cultivation, as it seems that two clones are needed to enable cross pollination.

    Division in early spring is possible but the mass of tuberous roots can be difficult to part. The soil must be washed away from the roots so that individual growing points can be carefully teased apart, a process that inevitably breaks some of the roots. Root cuttings can be taken in autumn. Another method of propagation is to take side shoots as basal cuttings in summer.

    This species at Kew

    Weldenia candida can be seen on display in the Davies Alpine House in late May and growing in the Rock Garden and the Woodland Garden at Kew.

    Pressed and dried specimens of Weldenia are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers, by appointment. The details, including images, of these can be seen on-line in the Herbarium Catalogue.

    Chelsea Flower Show winner

    The first examples were introduced into cultivation in Britain in 1893. Weldenia candida arrived at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from Guatemala, where it was collected in the crater of a volcano. In May 2000, a large-flowered Mexican form was exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show by Kew, and was awarded a First Class Certificate.

    Distribution
    Mexico
    Ecology
    Volcanic slopes and craters, in alpine meadows, and in clearings in pine forest, at altitudes of 2,400 to 4,000m.
    Conservation
    Not Evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.
    Hazards

    Not known.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Guatemala, Mexico Central, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest

    Weldenia candida Schult.f. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    48280.000
    48372.000
    Hunt [8096] 48282.000
    s.coll. [7405], Guatemala K000363200 Unknown type material
    Guatemala K000363199 holotype

    First published in Flora 12: 3 (1829)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (2004). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-54382. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles
    • Wilford, R. (2010). Alpines from Mountains to Gardens. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Hunt, D.R. (1994). Weldenia Schultes f. In Davidse G. et al (eds.) Flora Mesoamerica 6: 159. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico.
    • Bacon, L.J. (1981). Weldenia candida. Quarterly Bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society 49: 70—73.

    Sources

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0