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Origin and Habitat: Agave parryi var. truncata is endemic to Mexico, in the Durango / Zacatecas border at the South-Est border of the species' range. It is only known from the region of the type locality.
Type locality: Sierra Papanton. ca. 14 miles west of Sombrerete, near Zacatecas-Durango border, along highway 45.
Altitude range: About 2450 metres above sea level.
Habitat: Oak-juniper grassland.
- Agave parryi var. truncata Gentry
Agave parryi var. truncata Gentry
Agaves Cont. N. Amer. 543 1982.
Agave parryi Engelm.
Trans. Acad. Sci. St. Louis iii. (1875) 311.
- Agave parryi Engelm.
- Agave applanata var. parryi Mulford
- Agave americana var. latifolia Torr. in Emory
- Agave chihuahuana Trel.
- Agave marcusea hort. ex Trel.
- Agave marcusii De Smet.
- Agave marensii hort. ex Trel.
- Agave noah Nickels
- Agave parayi hort. ex Trel.
- Agave parreyi hort. ex Trel.
- Agave payrii hort. ex Trel.
- Agave scabra Salm-Dyck non Ortega
- Agave wislizeni Engelm.
Agave parryi var. couesii (Engelm. ex Trel.) Kearney & Peebles
J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 29: 474. 1939
- Agave parryi var. couesii (Engelm. ex Trel.) Kearney & Peebles
- Agave couesii Engelm. in Trel.
- Agave parryi f. integrifolia Breitung
Agave parryi var. huachucensis (Baker) Little in L.D.Benson
Amer. J. Bot. 30: 235. 1943
- Agave parryi var. huachucensis (Baker) Little in L.D.Benson
Agave parryi subs. neomexicana (Wooton & Standl.) B.Ullrich
Sida 15(2): 259. 1992
- Agave parryi subs. neomexicana (Wooton & Standl.) B.Ullrich
ENGLISH: Mescal agave, Artichoke Agave
SPANISH (Español): Mezcal, ágave, Maguey, Penca
Description: Agave parryi var. truncata is an extraordinary diminutive and ornamental variant of Agave parry with very short, broader and rounder leaves (some-times only 7-15 cm long), with tip acute to truncate (whence the name). This variety has “artichoke-like” and pleasing silvery-bluish gray rosettes with wider leaves than average, and the colour contrast is more intense, making it one of the more ornamental agaves of its size.
Habit: They are small, light gray, short-stemmed plants, usually solitary but some-times copiously surculose with long rhizomes, infrequently flowering.
Rosettes: Symmetrical, compact, sculpture-like, bluish-leaved.
Leaves: Very short and broad, 10-30 cm long, 7-12 cm broad, short oblong, plane, the apex concave, short acuminate to truncate, margin repand to undulate; teeth variable, the larger 4-8 mm long, commonly flexed downward, striking purple-red to dark brown. Terminal spine 2-2.5 cm long, openly grooved, sinuous, dark brown.
Inflorescence: 4-6 m tall, paniculate, stout, part-inflorescences stout, 20 - 36 in the upper half of the inflorescence.
Flowers: Tepals 2-2.5 times longer than the tube (10 mm deep).
Similar species: The more mammillate margined forms resemble the small-leaved Agave guadalajarana, but the latter has a more slender inflorescence with more remote, fewer, and smaller umbels.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Agave parry group
Agave parryi is widespread over a vast territory giving rise to a corresponding amount of variability. This variability has been recognized by botanists and the current thinking by agave taxonomists is that Agave parryi consists of two subspecies: Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana and A. parryi ssp. parryi. The ssp. parryi is further divided into four varieties; the nominate form, var. couesii, var. huachucensis and var. truncata. The distinctions between the varieties are somewhat ambiguous and, although the varieties are weakly differentiated, it appears that there is some geographic separation between them.
- Agave parryi Engelm.: (subsp. parryi var. parryi) Rosettes globose compactly imbricate, leaves broadly oblong, one-third to two-fifths as wide as long, 10 to 15 cm broad, 30 to 40 cm long, scape 4–6 m tall; perianth tube 6–12 mm, limb lobes 4–6(–7) mm wide; capsules 35-50 mm broad. Distribution: Central and southeastern Arizona.
- Agave parryi var. couesii (Engelm. ex Trel.) Kearney & Peebles: it is a somewhat smaller plant with leaves less closely imbricate and smaller flowers 25 to 50 mm long. Distribution: Yavapai and Gila Counties from the north-western border of the species' range.
- Agave parryi var. huachucensis (Baker) Little in L.D.Benson: is more robust, the leaves larger up to 35 cm wide and up to 65 cm long, and the panicle broader with larger flowers up to 75 mm long. Distribution: endemic of the Huachuca Mountains.
- Agave parryi subs. neomexicana (Wooton & Standl.) B.Ullrich: has leaves that "tend to be some-what more narrow, rosettes flat-topped, scape shorter, 3–4,5 m tall with fewer branches. Distribution: New mexico.
- Agave parryi var. truncata Gentry: it is distinguished by its very small leaves with acute to truncate apex, shorter marginal spines and doesn't sucker much if at all.
- Agave parryi cv. Ruby: The leaves in full sun take a nice purple tinge (hence the name).
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli "Illustrated Handbook of Suculent Plants: Monocotyledons" Springer, 2001
2) Howard Scott Gentry “Agaves of Continental North America” University of Arizona Press, 01/Feb/2004
3) August J. Breitung: “Agave parryi” In: “The Agaves.” The Cactus & Succulent Journal Yearbook, 1968
4) Howard Scott Gentry: “Agave parryi.” In: “Agaves of Continental North America.” The University of Arizona Press, 1982
5) J.Thiede: “Agave parryi.” In: Urs Eggli (Hrsg.): “Sukkulenten-Lexikon. Einkeimblättrige Pflanzen (Monocotyledonen).” Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2001
6) James L. Reveal & Wendy C. Hodgson: “Flora of North America Agavaceae.” 2002
7) Chihuahuan desert plants. “Parry Agave (Agave parryi)”.
8) Wikipedia contributors. "Agave parryi." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Oct. 2014. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.
9) "Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness" Presented in Association with the Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences. “Agave parryi Engelmann”.
10) Mary Irish “Gardening in the Desert: A Guide to Plant Selection & Care” University of Arizona Press, 01/Sept./2000
11) Greg Starr “Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers” Timber Press, 27/Jun/2013
12) Mary Irish “Gardening in the Desert: A Guide to Plant Selection & Care” University of Arizona Press, 2000
Cultivation and Propagation: Agave parryi is usually cultivated outdoors in rock gardens, in cactus and succulent gardens, in Mediterranean-style landscapes, in borders, or as a specimen. It suckers, but tends to be slow to sucker, so easy to keep control of. Some varieties, like truncata, hardly sucker at all. It is very frost hardy. Because of its compact size, plus its low water use and low maintenance, it is considered a good landscaping plant for desert residential landscaping.
Growth rate: Slow to medium growing, but speeds up considerably given the best conditions.
Exposure: They do well in full sun or a lightly shaded area with afternoon shade.
Soil: They do best in very well-drained, sandy or gravely soil. As an ornamental it is also grown in containers where it stays smaller than its outdoor brethren. In pots they need a very porous mix soil (e.g. 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part of pumice).
Repotting: Use pot with good drainage.
Fertilization: They grows quickly if kept well nourished with a slow release fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents applied once or twice a year (poor in nitrogen), including all micro nutrients and trace elements.
Hardiness: Agave parryi is one of the most cold hardy of the agaves, (hardy to -9/-18°C dependin by clones (USDA zones: 9b-11). However some variety (e.g. Agave parryi var. couesii) has proven to grown without particular damages in wet, cold and harsh winters with temperatures down to -20°C or less at least with good drainage). Agave parryi var. truncata may need protection in the coldest areas.
Scenography: These striking plants are wonderful when used for accent or simply to provide some all year round foliage and often used in a pot as a patio plant, can be moved around to change the scenery or position to give more shelter.
Traditional uses: Used to manufacture mescal and tequila. Native Americans also use plant for food, fiber, soap and medicines.
Warning: It is armed with needle-sharp spines. The juice of this species can be irritating to the skin.
Propagation: Seeds or suckers which often are found growing around the base of the plant, Remove the basal suckers (if available) in spring or summer and let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost.
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