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Guadalupe Mts. (juvenile specimen)
Origin and Habitat: Agave glomeruliflora is found scattered in several mountain ranges in Texas (Culberson Co., 6 mi NE of Nickel Creek Camp on Boger Canyon, E slope of Guadalupe Mts.; near Kent. Hudspeth Co., N of Allamoore. Brew-ster Co., Glass Mts., Gilliland Flat; Chisos Mts., Basin area.) and in Mexico (Coahuila, Sierra del Carmen, Sierra de la Madera).
Type locality: Clicos Mountains, Basin area, Brewster Co., Texas.
Habitat and ecology: Gravelly calcareous grassland slopes of the Big Bend mountains of Texas and the Sierra del Carmen of northern Coahuila. These grasslands include the oak-juniper woodlands at elevations around 1,250-1.550 m and the mesquite-Larrea grasslands as low as about 620 m.
- Agave х glomeruliflora (Engelm.) A.Berger
Agave х glomeruliflora (Engelm.) A.Berger
Agaven 95 (1915)
- Agave х glomeruliflora (Engelm.) A.Berger
- Agave х chisosensis C.H.Mull.
ENGLISH: Chisos Mountain century plant, Chisos agave
CATALAN (Català): Maguey del Bravo
POLISH ( Polski): Agawa chisonska
SICILIAN (Sicilianu): Centuspati
SPANISH (Español): Mescal
Description: Most botanists refer to these odd little century plants as Chisos agave (Agave x glomeruliflora) but suspect that the Chisos Mountains plants are hybrids resulting from a cross between the lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla) and the common Big Bend century plant (Agave havardiana), or with Agave gracilipes and Agave neomexicana (all belonging to the subgenus agave) in different portions of its range. The genetics of such intergrades are unknown. But unlike most other hybrids, these plants are able to reproduces. Michel Powell (1988) consider Chisos agave a full species. Agave x glomeruliflora is similar to Agave gracilipes but the former species has leaves to 55 cm long, and the corneous margin is continuous from the base to the terminal spine, while the leaves of Agave gracilipes are less than 30 cm long and the terminal spine extends along the margin only to about the middle of the blade .
Habit: Acaulescent, frequently suckering or cespitose, small to medium, few-leaved, light green rosettes, with tall stout, racemose, freely seeding inflorescences.
Rosettes: 40–60 cm tall, 50–90 cm across.
Leaves:Variable, linear 40-55 long, 5-6 cm wide, or lanceolate to deltoid 36-50 cm long, 7-10 cm wide, rigid, thick, light to dark green, without bud-prints, the margin corneous, separating easily with drying, straight or mammillate. Teeth 5-10 (-15) mm long, 1-3 cm apart, generally declined and flexed or curved, brown to greyish. Terminal spine stout 2.5-4 cm long, conical to subulate, broadly grooved above, rounded to sharply keeled below and protruding into leaf flesh, grayish with tip persisting brown.
Inflorescence: Subspicate to narrowly racemose-paniculate, sparsely flowered 4-6 m tall, stout, the peduncle long, strongly bracteate with persistent deltoid bracts. Flowers short-pedicellate, clustered or umbellate on 70–90 stout lateral branches 4-10 or more cm long.
Flowers: Flowers (6–)10–12 per cluster, erect, 35-50 mm long, yellow. Ovary ca. 15 mm long. Perianth yellow to yellowish lime green, tube 7-8 mm long, funnelform. Tepals 20-22 long, 6-7 mm wide. Filaments 40-50 mm long, inserted at bases of tepals. Anthers yellow, 20–21 mm
Blooming season: Flowering mid spring--early fall.
Fruits (capsules): 2.7-4 cm long, 1.3-1.5 cm in diameter, thick-walled, oblong, short-pedicellate or sessile, apex beaked.
Seeds: 5-6 long, 3.5-4.5 mm wide, deltoid, glossy black, with wavy marginal wing.
Notes: Mescal (Agave neomexicana, Agave havardiana, Agave gracilipes, Agave parryi, and Agave × glomeruliflora).
The significance of the mescal in the life of the Apaches of the South-west cannot be exaggerated. The Spanish named the Mescalero Apaches for the food on which they depended so heavily for survival. Mescal was such an important source of food, fiber, and drink that for nearly six hundred years the home ranges of the Apaches coincided with those of various species of agave. The Lipan Apaches relied on Agave havardiana and Agave × glomeruliflora in the mountains of the Big Bend region, and the Mescaleros depended on Agave neomexicana and Agave gracilipes from the Guadalupe Mountains and on Agave parryi into southern New Mexico. Warning Do not eat raw agave heart—the caustic juice will burn your mouth. Use only the food species mentioned here because the saponin levels in some other species make them unsafe for food.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) PLANTS Profile for “Agave × glomeruliflora” in: “Flora of North America” vol 26 p 458. on [http://www. efloras.org] Web. 3 Aug. 2015.
2) Gentry, H. S. “Agaves of continental North America.” 1982.
3) Roland H. Wauer “For all seasons: a Big Bend journal” University of Texas Press, 1997
4) Jackie M. Poole “Rare Plants of Texas: A Field Guide” Texas A&M University Press, 2007
5) Burgess, T. L. 1979. “Agave — Complex of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park; Putative hybridization between members of different subgenera.” In Genoways, H. H. and R. J. Baker, Biological Investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. National Park Service, Proceedings Series Number Four.
6) A. Michael Powell “Trees & Shrubs of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas” University of Texas Press, 05 July 2010
7) August J. Breitung “The Agaves” Abbey Garden Press
8) Urs Eggli "Illustrated Handbook of Suculent Plants: Monocotyledons" Springer, 2001
9) Roland H. Wauer “For all seasons: a Big Bend journal” University of Texas Press, 1997
Cultivation and Propagation: Agave × glomeruliflora is a wonderful cold-hardy Agave that with care and the correct cultivation will survive in UK gardens through the cold wet rigours of a British winter. It suckers, but tends to be slow to sucker, so easy to keep control of. 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 × glomeruliflora is hardy to -7 to -12° C depending by clones.
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: This plant was called Mescal in association with the Mescalero tribe of the Native American Apache who roasted and ate the plant.
Pest and diseases: Very hardy but susceptible to fungal attack The key - as with all the cold-hardy succulents - is to ensure they have perfect drainage with little soil so that rainwater quickly passes past their roots and doesn't stand.
Warning: The spines along the sides of the leaves are retrorsely barbed, each barb arching backward; should one become embedded in the flesh of your finger, it would not come out easily.It
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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