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Origin and Habitat: Sonora (Guajaray, Sierra de Yecora, Mesa El Campancro),Chihuahua (Sierra Charuco, Sierra Guicorichi) and southern Durango, Mexico, Northern America.
Type locality: Huicorichi (or Guicorichi), Sierra Huicorichi, Rio Mayo, Chihuahua
Altitude: 1200-2500 metres above sea level.
Habitat: Agave wocomahi is found in open sunny rocky slopes, often calcareous, among pines and oaks, where it anchors in crevices filled with humus. In its mountainous habitat it is very uncommon, the populations consisting of small colonies with widely scattered individuals.
- Agave wocomahi Gentry
SPANISH (Español): Mescal verde, Mezcal cenizo, Wacomahi
Description: Agave wocomahi is a handsome, moderate sized to large glaucous green agave. The plant does not offsets and only reproduces by seed.
Rosette: Single 1,5 to 2 m in diameter and 0,8-1,3 m tall, eventually depressed and open at maturity, which because of the open and symmetrical spacing of its basal leaves is quite distinctive and attractive.
Leaves: Broad thick-fleshy, rather rigid, smooth, 30-90 cm long, 9-25 cm wide, lanceolate, rarely ovate, somewhat narrowed toward the base, plane, ascending to depressed in age, dark green, grey-green or glaucous green. Margins straight to wavy with large dark brown teeth, 1-2 cm long, irregularly curved, these below the mid-blade often down-flexed with smaller interstitial teeth irregularly occurring. Apical spine robust, 3-6 cm long, usually sinuous, flattened or hollowed above, short or long-decurrent.
Inflorescence: Paniculate, candelabra-like, open, up to 3-5 m tall. Stalk slender with appressed bracts in the midlle, 15-20 cm long and with 8-15 laterals panicles in upper 1/3.
Flowers: 65-85 mm long, erect yellow. Ovary cylindrical, 34-40 mm long light green. Tube grooved, funnelform, light yellow. Tepals 15-23 mm long, 5 mm broad, yellow, erect, linear, hooded at tip, the outer sometimes red-tipped, the inner shorter and prominently keeled. Filaments 60-65 mm long, anthers yellow, large, 26-34 mm long. Pistil with a large stigmatic head. It is self sterile and requires cross-fertilization.
Fruits: Loculicidal capsules, oblong, 50-60 mm long, 15 mm or more in diameter.
Seeds: 7 mm long, 4,5-5 mm wide, glossy black.
Remarks: It is often found growing with Agave shrevei from which it is distinguished by its dark green colour with more distant teeth and for the greenish-yellow flowers. It can also be confused with Agave bovicornuta which has lighter yellowish green leaves conspicuously narrowed above with more distant teeth.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Howard Scott Gentry “Agaves of Continental North America” University of Arizona Press, 01/Feb/2004
2) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer, 2001
3) Hermann Jacobsen ”A Handbook of Succulent Plants: Abromeitiella to Euphorbia” Blandford Press, 1960
4) David Yetman "The Guarijo̕s of the Sierra Madre: Hidden People of Northwestern Mexico" UNM Press, 2002
5) Paul S. Martin, David A. Yetman, Mark E. Fishbein, Philip D. Jenkins, Thomas R. Van Devender "Gentry's Río Mayo Plants: The Tropical Deciduous Forest & Environs of Northwest Mexico" University of Arizona Press, 1998
Agave wocomahi Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
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Cultivation and Propagation: Agave wocomahi is a splendid ornamental for a Mediterranean climate and one of the most striking species. It is an easy-to-grow plant that could well be valued and cultivated by the sophisticated agave fanciers.
Growing rate: In the wild individual rosettes grow for not less than 11 years prior to the single flowering event and results in the death of the long-lived leaf rosette.
Soil: It needs a very well-drained, soil.
Repotting: Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Water regularly during the growing season from spring to autumn. In winter watering this plant can be done once every 1-2 months, there is no need to mist the leaves. Plants cultivated outdoors are drought tolerant and takes blasting heat and full sun.
Exposure: It do well in full sun or a lightly shaded area.
Feeding: During the beautiful season it’s good to enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen, because this chemical element doesn’t help the development of succulent plants, making them too soft and full of water.
Hardiness: Agave wocomahi is hardy to -3° C, particularly when dry but in cultivation it is preferable to avoid freezing temperatures.
Heat Tolerance: Excellent.
Garden use: Because of their symmetrical form these plants are very attractive when grown in pots, containers, rockeries and embankments. They are quite versatile. Plants can be grouped together or planted among boulders in a rock or cactus garden.
Traditional uses: This agave is considered sweet and suitable for eating and making alcoholic beverages by the Warihio and Tarahumara Indians of the Sierra Madre country. The head was roasted and eaten, and the flowers were cooked and eaten like squash (A kind of Cucurbita). Agave wocomahi is used in its native area for the production of Mezcal. The fibres of the leaves is used for cord, rope, and packsaddle pads.
Propagation: This is a non-suckering species, and seeds would be needed to keep it generating. Sow at any time of year in a well-aerated compost at a temperatures of 22-24°C . Stand the pots in water, moisten thoroughly and drain. Scatter and press lightly the seed onto the top of the compost. But do not cover the small seeds with compost. Secure a polythene bag around the pot or cover the container with glass or and place in a warm shaded place. If possible, germinate in a propagator. Some seedlings may appear within a week or 10 days others will take longer. At lower temperatures, germination usually takes considerably longer. Once germination has taken place, remove gradually the glass or plastic and move into a good light but not in direct sun. If the young plants are exposed to too much sun, or the compost dries out, they may stop growing and often turn red; once they stop, it is often difficult to persuade them to start growing again. Never let the pots dry out-but don't saturate them either. A sodden compost is as harmful as a dry one.
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