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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Agave parryii, or what?

This is the  latest treasure added to the out of control succulent collection. It was labelled Confederate Rose.
What is it? Agave  Parryii, - - also called Mescal Agave , Artichoke Agave, Desert Rose, Confederate Rose. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this plant. What is quite certain is that it’s, from the desert, and some plants seem to sucker easily like this one, and others don’t at all. They clump.

Agave Parryii originates in New Mexico, Arizona and N. Mexico. This possibly explains the some of the confusion—the different locations may have produced slightly dissimilar plants. However The Mescal Agave is not the same agave but A. americana , known in Mexico as maguey,from which is made mezcal the a smoky liquor, generally drunk neat. ( If it has with the larva worm in it, you have gotten the inferior version made for dumb gringos.) Most mezcal comes from Oaxaca, where it is appreciated, and considered good for hypertension, diabetes and will jump starting your  sex life.

 In N. Mexico, you throw it down before breakfast. However, it won’t look as good in a pot as A. Parryii:

Artichoke Agave is A Parryii v. var. huachucensis , according to the very reliable San Marcos Growers(” This agave from South-eastern Arizona south to Chihuahua ….forms suckers. Individual plants are 18 inches to 2 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide with the sucker growth produces dense clumps.”

And is often confused with A. parryi v. truncata which it is not !
This is:
See---shorter, fatter leaves. This variety has lots of sports.
All A Parryii varieties are are monocarpic, meaning they bloom once in the life of the plant. The parent plant dies, hopefully having left many sucker off- spring behind.

Confederate Rose is possibly Agave potatorum

Photo  from The Tropic Center.

And the Desert Rose may be Agave parrasana
 Origin: Mountainous areas of Coahuila (Mexico) higher than 4000 feet in elevation (1200 m).
Growth Habits: Clumping succulent rosette, up to 2 feet in diameter each (60 cm)..

Photo from Xeric World (good site)
Now, are you  inspired to go get one of each?

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