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[ Soap Agave (Agave chrysoglossa) | Posted on January 23, 2022 ]

Solitary or profusely offsetting agave from hot, dry, coastal/lowland areas of Sonora in northwestern Mexico. Leaves are relatively straight, narrow, toothless, and few in number per rosette.

This species (related to vilmoriniana, but with mostly straight, narrow, flat leaves) produces a densely flowered inflorescence and is reported to generate half a million (or more) seeds per flowering event. Unlike vilmoriniana, it does not produce bulbils. The two species are said to intergrade where they meet in habitat.

Known as amole in its Mexican home and used locally for washing.

[ Century Plant (Agave ortgiesiana) | Posted on January 23, 2022 ]

Solitary medium-sized agave with many narrow, toothless leaves bearing threads. Rosettes grow to about 3 feet. Leaves are green, with shredding brown margins and short terminal spines. The inflorescence is unbranched. This species may be hard to distinguish from Agave multifilifera when young, unless you know the geographical origin.

From western Mexico in the coastal states of Jalisco and Colima, usually in coastal or near-coastal areas. This species was known as colimana for many years (described and discussed by Gentry as such, due to the area of origin) but apparently the same plant was described earlier as ortgiesiana. It will generally be found for sale as colimana.

Rainfall in Colima where this plant is found is about 35 inches a year, most from June to September and very little from January to May. Bats are responsible for pollination in habitat.

[ Echeveria 'Rosalinda' | Posted on January 21, 2022 ]

Small, pale green Echeveria hybrid with contrasting red highlights and tiny marginal hairs. From Suculentas de la Costa in Argentina. The parentage (setosa var. ciliata x agavoides) helps explain the color (agavoides) and the tiny hairs (setosa).

[ Maguey Pintillo (Agave pintilla) | Posted on January 20, 2022 ]

Recently described ornamental agave from the Chihuahuan Desert with prominent white lines on leaf surfaces. This plant was formerly considered a form of A. victoriae-reginae. Rosettes reach 1-2 feet wide and may be solitary or offsetting. There is a sharp terminal spine but no marginal teeth.

Found in Durango, Mexico at about 1500m altitude in about 3 different locations. Described in 2011, at the same time A. nickelsiae (aka A. ferdinandi-regis) was reestablished as a species. Agave pintilla has fewer leaves than nickelsiae, with a different color and a non-decurrent terminal spine. It may (rarely) hybridize with A. salmiana in nature.

This is one of three closely related and similar looking royal agaves, along with A. victoriae-reginae and A. nickelsiae. It is much less common than these other 2 species in cultivation, though in high demand and increasing in number. All three are dry-growing and long-lived in cultivation. Provide strong light and excellent drainage, and do not overwater.

[ Grand Canyon Agave (Agave phillipsiana) | Posted on January 20, 2022 ]

Small, offsetting dark green or slightly glaucous green Arizona agave to about 3 feet wide. Rosettes may multiply over time via rhizomatous offsets. This species is sterile (does not produce fruit) and can only be reproduced by vegetative means (offsets). It appears at 3 pre-Columbian settlements near the Grand Canyon as well as several other locations in northern and central Arizona. It may be related to A. palmeri or other species. It can be distinguished from A. delamateri based on its shorter leaves and certain floral features.

This species (described in 2001) is one of at least 5 agaves from Arizona which appear to be pre-Columbian cultivars (A. delamateri, A. phillipsiana, A. sanpedroensis, A. verdensis, A. yavapaiensis). These are in addition to 2 more cultigens which may be found elsewhere (murpheyi from AZ and Sonora, decipiens from Florida and Yucatán). They were presumably cultivated for food and/or fiber. Only 3 agaves from this southwestern group (murpheyi, verdensis, yavapaiensis) will (rarely) produce fruit and seed. Their compromised fertility seems to be related to their domestication, and many generations of vegetative propagation.

[ Tonto Basin Agave (Agave delamateri) | Posted on January 20, 2022 ]

Small, offsetting glaucous bluish grey Arizona agave to about 3 feet wide. Rosettes multiply over time via rhizomatous offsets. This plant has been found at over 200 sites in association with pre-Columbian human settlements. It appears to be most closely related to A. palmeri and fortiflora, but can be distinguished from them based on its prolific offsetting behavior and easily cut leaves. It was originally collected in 1920 and discussed by Trelease using the unpublished name A. repanda. It hybridizes with chrysantha, though it does not produce fruit or seed. It can be distinguished from phillipsiana based on its longer leaves and certain floral features.

This species (described in 2013) is one of at least 5 agaves from Arizona which appear to be pre-Columbian cultivars (A. delamateri, A. phillipsiana, A. sanpedroensis, A. verdensis, A. yavapaiensis). These are in addition to 2 more cultigens which may be found elsewhere (murpheyi from AZ and Sonora, decipiens from Florida and Yucatán). They were presumably cultivated for food and/or fiber. Only 3 agaves from this southwestern group (murpheyi, verdensis, yavapaiensis) will (rarely) produce fruit and seed. Their compromised fertility seems to be related to their domestication, and many generations of vegetative propagation.

[ Agave (Agave verdensis) | Posted on January 20, 2022 ]

Small, offsetting glaucous grey Arizona agave to about 3 feet wide. Rosettes are open and multiply over time via rhizomatous offsets. This species (described in 2013) is similar to A. chrysantha, shrevei, and delamateri. It is one of at least 5 agaves from Arizona which appear to be pre-Columbian cultivars (A. delamateri, A. phillipsiana, A. sanpedroensis, A. verdensis, A. yavapaiensis). These are in addition to 2 more cultigens which may be found elsewhere (murpheyi from AZ and Sonora, decipiens from Florida and Yucatán). They were presumably cultivated for food and/or fiber. Only 3 agaves from this southwestern group (murpheyi, verdensis, yavapaiensis) will (rarely) produce fruit and seed. Their compromised fertility seems to be related to their domestication, and many generations of vegetative propagation.

[ Mammillaria (Mammillaria spinosissima 'Un Pico') | Posted on January 17, 2022 ]

This common green cactus has one inch-long spine per areole (sometimes more), with abundant pink flowers in crowns near the tips in winter. Stems reach 3 inches in diameter and grow a few inches tall. There are versions of this plant with more than one spine, presumably reversions to a spinier form. This cultivar does not resemble plants found in habitat, because it lacks the dozens of spines that are normal for the species.

This should be a relatively easy plant in cultivation, given strong light and good drainage. It is not a deep drinker and enjoys a longer interval between watering than many Mammillarias. The flowers seem to require some sun to open wide (though a hazy day may be sufficient).

[ Mammillaria (Mammillaria spinosissima) | Posted on January 17, 2022 ]

Generally solitary cactus (sometimes branching) with stems to 20 inches tall and about 2.5 inches in diameter. 12-15 straight central spines (variable), 20-25 radial spines, sometimes with wool and bristles in the axils. Purplish pink flowers, green to pinkish fruit.

Found in central Mexico in the states of Morelos, Guerrero, and Mexico. 3 subspecies are currently recognized. The type, Biznaga de Espinas Plumosas (Mammillaria spinosissima subsp. spinosissima), which is the most widespread, with whitish spines and usually without bristles, is usually limited to about 12 inches. Bristle Brush (Mammillaria spinosissima subsp. pilcayensis) has bristles and whitish spines, growing narrower stems up to 20 inches. Biznaga de Tlayacapan (Mammillaria spinosissima subsp. tepoxtlana) has yellow spines and is found near Tepoztlán.

Various versions of this plant are found in cultivation, including the cultivar Mammillaria (Mammillaria spinosissima 'Un Pico'), which does not really resemble the usual species, having one spine per areole (sometimes reverting to multiples).

[ Haworthia (Haworthia mirabilis) | Posted on January 15, 2022 ]

Small, clumping, variable Haworthia from the southern tip of South Africa with translucent triangular windows at the end of each leaf. Rosettes grow to about 3 inches, with retuse leaves. The windows have lines. Leaves may blush orange-brown (some varieties more than others). This species is apparently related to H. magnifica, which grows near it in habitat. Its windows are smooth while magnifica's are not.

There have been various named varieties (and subspecies) of mirabilis in the past, two of which (var. magnifica, var. atrofusca) were absorbed by magnifica. The CoL recognizes 7 or 8 varieties, one of which (badia) has a few named cultivars.

[ Queen Victoria Agave (Agave victoriae-reginae subsp. victoriae-reginae) | Posted on December 25, 2021 ]

The type subspecies of this most ornamental, long-lived agave is bigger than subsp. swobodae, with more leaves and bigger seeds. It is typically grown (only) from seed, as it is solitary and does not usually offset.

[ Agave (Agave yavapaiensis) | Posted on December 23, 2021 ]

Small, offsetting blue-green Arizona agave to about 2 feet wide. Plants form clumps over time via rhizomatous offsets. This species (described in 2013) is apparently most similar to verdensis (with differences in leaf shape and color, teeth) among the cultigens, and chrysantha and shrevei among other species. It is named for the Yavapai people from the region.

This is one of at least 5 agaves from Arizona which appear to be pre-Columbian cultivars (A. delamateri, A. phillipsiana, A. sanpedroensis, A. verdensis, A. yavapaiensis). These are in addition to 2 more cultigens which may be found elsewhere (murpheyi from AZ and Sonora, decipiens from Florida and Yucatán). They were presumably cultivated for food and/or fiber. Only 3 agaves from this southwestern group (murpheyi, verdensis, yavapaiensis) will (rarely) produce fruit and seed. Their compromised fertility seems to be related to their domestication, and many generations of vegetative propagation.

[ Compact Queen Victoria Agave (Agave victoriae-reginae subsp. swobodae) | Posted on December 23, 2021 ]

Small, offsetting form of the Queen Victoria agave. Slow growing, but growth rate does vary. Final size about 8-14 inches wide. This second subspecies of the Queen Victoria agave includes the smaller, offsetting forms also known as (var. /fa.) compacta in the trade. Compared to the type, this subspecies is smaller, with fewer leaves and smaller seeds. It may have a shorter lifespan. Plants of this subspecies may offset only occasionally or fairly often (or sometimes not at all). All variegated forms of this species that I know of belong to this group and are propagated from offsets. The type subspecies is typically propagated from seeds only.

[ Variegated String of Buttons (Crassula perforata 'Variegata') | Posted on December 22, 2021 ]

This marginally variegated version of the common stacking succulent Crassula perforata performs more or less like the wild type, though with smaller leaves and weaker stems. It grows upright at first and then begins to sprawl and after a while grows mostly sideways. To arrive at a bushy plant with enhanced stability (neighboring stems supporting each other), start several cuttings in the same pot and then behead them when they are established and growing to promote branching and even more stems as a result.

Propagation of this plant is straightforward. Root a 2 inch cutting (exposing and burying only the bottom half inch of stem), wait for it to double in size (2-3 months?), then cut the top half and insert in soil. Repeat as often as you like (the stumps will branch) and you'll have 12-15 cuttings in no time (sufficient to fill an 8 inch pot).

There may be more than one version of this variegate, as the photos here show individuals with yellow or white margins. The variegation in the leaves may seem to come and go depending on the situation, but in general I see almost no reversion. There do, however, appear to be reversions among the photos on this page.

[ Agave (Agave decipiens) | Posted on December 18, 2021 ]

Large, well armed agave with substantial stems sometimes up to 8-10 feet tall, becoming somewhat arborescent at maturity. It looks more like a yucca than an agave once it has a big trunk. Rosettes may reach up to 6 feet wide but typically the plants around here get to about half that size. I would imagine that ample water, nutrient-rich soil, and partial shade would favor giantism. Leaves are concave and they have sharp, non-decurrent terminal spines and wavy margins, with a few interstitial teeth. The inflorescence reaches about 10-15 feet tall, with several branches on the upper half, often producing bulbils.

This species usually produces basal offsets, but its tendency to do so seems to be affected by whether conditions are favorable or restrictive. In our climate (7-10" annual rainfall, zero during summer) it survives and does fairly well in very nutrient poor soil without supplemental water. Propagation is usually by bulbils or offsets. This agave is relatively common in cultivation and very practical for low-maintenance public landscaping in arid climates.

The geographical origin of this plant, a presumed cultigen, is not certain, but Florida seems to be the leading candidate. Plants found in Yucatán (peninsular tip of southern Mexico) may be feral and not native to there. In any case one would assume the species does well in warm, humid places (given proper drainage), in addition to its pretty outstanding drought tolerance.

[ Sansevieria (Sansevieria suffruticosa) | Posted on December 18, 2021 ]

Kenyan Sansevieria with tubular leaves. Plants flower once they have a full rosette, and from there on the only growth comes in the form of offsets, which arise via stolons that grow some distance from the mother plant (maybe a couple times her width under low light conditions) and tend to sprout aerial roots along the way. The offsets are very easy to start from cuttings, esp. ones with aerial roots, but flowering is an event that happens only once in the life of any given rosette. The leaves have a sharp tip but it's not particularly dangerous.

This plant does very well indoors with daily sun exposure, and will tolerate surprisingly low levels of light (mostly or all indirect light if a room is very bright), though the form is different depending on the exposure. The clone I have does well in a 6 inch pot more or less indefinitely.

[ xSemponium | Posted on December 3, 2021 ]

Intergeneric hybrid originally created by Surreal Succulents in the UK. On the original releases, Sempervivum was the seed parent and Aeonium was the pollen parent. These colorful plants have Aeonium-like features (at least vegetatively, in the leaves and stem; flowers are supposed to resemble the other parent).

[ Echeveria (Echeveria tolimanensis) | Posted on November 22, 2021 ]

Smallish glaucous Echeveria with tight blue-gray to purplish rosettes to 8 inches (rarely surviving to get this big, reportedly vulnerable to overwatering). Leaves have an elegant curve and point. The powder on them is unusually dense but easily removed by careless handling. Reddish pink flowers appear on short 2-3 branched inflorescences. Short-stemmed and usually solitary, except for leaf propagations, which may end up with 2 or 3 heads. Best color and most compact form in strong light. Greenish tones reflect insufficient light. From Hidalgo. Distributed as ISI 1471 (1984).

[ Sedum craigii | Posted on November 22, 2021 ]

Fat-leafed succulent from Chihuahua with sideways growing stems and unremarkable white flowers. Leaves are glaucous and grayish to purple. They are arranged opposite each other along the stem, which starts out vertical but then gradually goes sideways. The overall look is more like a typical Graptopetalum or Pachyphytum, instead of a Sedum. This plant is a putative parent of the attractive intergeneric hybrids 'Ganzhou' (with a Pachyphytum) and 'Blue Mist' (with an Echeveria). In both cases the leaves are reminiscent of this species, but the flowers are much more colorful.

[ Echeveria (Echeveria setosa var. oteroi) | Posted on November 22, 2021 ]

This unusual variety of a hairy species is not particularly hairy, and in some cases may be hairless. Leaves are green (starting out glaucous) and somewhat spoon-shaped, with the hairs (if there are any) present mostly along the margins. Rosettes may reach 2-6 inches wide. This variety can be distinguished from the others based on the pattern of the hairs, the spoon-like shape of the leaves, and the loose rosette. The flowers are very similar (tubular, red with yellow mouths), though sometimes hairless with oteroi. From the Sierra Mixteca in Oaxaca. Not uncommon in cultivation. Slow growing and not as branchy as some other forms of the species.

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