Cactus and Succulents forum: ID needed: Agave? Aloe? Other? What species or cultivar?

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jun 19, 2016 2:20 PM CST

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Not Cream Spike. The leaf is a different shape, the overall posture is different, and the terminal spine is shorter. Cream Spike tends to be low and flat in its juvenile form, especially under low light, and the later transition to a more upright, erect posture comes only gradually and after a few years.

But mainly Cream Spike tends to pack a pretty serious set of spikes once it gets that many leaves.

Thumb of 2016-06-19/Baja_Costero/8e52c0

Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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csandt
Jun 19, 2016 2:27 PM CST
The parent of my baby Agave does look like the photo of your Cream Spike Agave and it has some very serious spikes. The parent plant is about 10 inches in diameter.

Does anyone know what distinguishes Agave applanta Cream Spike from Agave potatorium Variegata/ Agave Kisho Kan? To confuse matters further, the Plant Delights website lists Cream Spike as formerly named Agave paryii (Avent).
Carol H. Sandt

“...while the self-reflexive ego thinks by means of noting differences and drawing distinctions, spiritual awareness 'thinks' by an innate perception of kinship, of belonging to the whole." -- Cynthia Bourgeault
[Last edited by csandt - Jun 19, 2016 2:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jun 19, 2016 2:57 PM CST

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Those terminal spines are much smaller compared to Cream Spike. The plant in my picture is roughly the same size (10-11 inches).

Cream Spike is a variegated form of Agave applanata but has been referred to using various other species names. The small butterfly agaves (Kissho Kan etc.) are dwarf forms of a different species (probably potatorum). Aside from being different species, they are also quite different in how they grow. This behavior is the way you can usually tell them apart. Cream Spike starts out as a very flat, low plant when it is young and ends up a very symmetric upright adult plant with erect leaves that fill in the space quite evenly. The transition starts around the time the plant is about 6 inches in diameter but takes a few years to really transform the plant (which is notoriously slow to make this transition). Agave applanata is not a dwarf plant when it grows up, whatever the juvenile form may suggest. Cream Spikes can grow to a couple of feet wide (or more), the normal (non-variegated) applanatas maybe 3 times that big.

The butterfly agaves are also different in the way the leaves open (or often stay slightly folded after opening), resembling a pair of wings perhaps fluttering in the air. In contrast Cream Spike leaves tend to be flat (the name applanata means flattened) and don't display the same kind of flutter. For example if you do a Google image search for "Agave Cream Spike" you get a nice page full of images but one stands out right away as different, and that is a fluttering Kissho Kan that was misidentified, on this page.

http://gardenforeplay.avantgar...
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 19, 2016 3:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Thea
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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cherryb1ossoms
Jun 19, 2016 5:32 PM CST

Here's my two Kissho Kans. If it help with your ID - different stage of growth. Different vendors.
Thumb of 2016-06-19/cherryb1ossoms/a3068a
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Jun 21, 2016 10:13 PM CST
I think it is a sun-starved version of A. 'Kissho Kan'. I have several that started out that way before growing them in pretty much full sun started them towards becoming more like the stereotypical leaf and rosette shape.

This is the best picture I have at the moment of one showing that off - I have another that is still mostly in the stretched leaf shape but I have no pictures of it. This is a picture of a few months back. Right now it is not looking very good after the heat of the last few days that appears to be continuing for at least another week.

Thumb of 2016-06-22/mcvansoest/4585e2

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