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Origin and Habitat: USA (Southern Texas) and Mexico(Nuevo Leon, Hidalgo, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz).
Altitude range: 10 - 1830 metres above sea level.
Habitat and ecology: Manfreda maculosa is frequent in open or dense dry shrublands (chaparral) on various soils, commonly along bluffs, slopes, rocks and ravines, and in moist oak woods. The rosettes are often obscured by low shrubs This species is the primary host plant for the caterpillars of the rare Manfreda Giant-Skipper or Aloe Skipper (Stallingsia maculosus (= Stallingsia smithi)). A reduction in the M. maculosa population could threaten the existence of the butterflies. The new flower stalks (inflorescences) are fed on by small mammals, javelina, deer, and feral pigs, which can end the flowering effort for that season. The leaves are fed on by these as well, especially during droughts, weakening and killing the plants.
- Manfreda maculosa (Hook.) Rose
Manfreda maculosa (Hook.) Rose
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 8: 17 1903
- Manfreda maculosa (Hook.) Rose
- Agave maculosa var. brevituba Engelm.
- Agave maculata var. brevituba (Engelm.) Mulford
- Agave maculosa var. minor Jacobi
ENGLISH: Spice lily of Texas, Wild tuberose, Texas tuberose, Spice lily
Description: The Texas Tuberose (Manfreda maculosa (= Agave maculosa)) is a glabrous, rhizomatous, perennial with a medium-sized basal rosette of fleshy green or purple-mottled leaves and clusters freely to make many rosettes. The flowers are scented creamy-yellow or white.
Stem: The Texas Tuberose is acaulescent, meaning the stem is extremely short.
Leaves: Somewhat fleshy in a basal rosette, erect-arching that in low light situations may lay flat on soil surface, elongate, linear to lanceolate, deeply channeled, 10-50 cm long, 0.5-2.7(-3.9 in cultivation) cm wide, dark silvery-green unspotted or randomly blotched with lighter green, green, purplish or brownish spots througout, sometimes glaucous. Spots round to elliptic. The stronger the sun exposure, and to some degree the drier the situation, the deeper the shade of the red markings will be. Individual plants vary in the number, size, and shade of reddish spots, even among those grown from a single seedpod. Margins sometimes revolute, with coarse, widely spaced, cartilaginous teeth. In a drought, the leaves may wither, leaving little or nothing visible above ground.
Inflorescence (racemes): Sufficient precipitation yields an erect, terminal inflorescence 60-120 (-180) cm tall (larger in cultivation) spicate, flowering part (7.5-) 14 - 22 (-29; to 48 in cultivation) cm, with 7 -29 (-41) spreading flowers. The inflorescence is leafless except for a few small bracts.
Flowers: The flowers are sessile, perianth tubular-funnelform, composed of 6 similar tepals fused at base, 2.5-4 cm long. The flowers open and change colours over 3-4 days of life, from greenish-white to pink to dark red. Sepals 4 – 5 mm long, 3 -4 mm wide. The tube is narrow, 6-16 mm long, 1.5-3 mm wide at middle. The lobes are recurved, oblong (6-) 9 - 13 (-16) mm long, yellow-green or mahogany-brown inside. The stamens are 6 and the filaments are exerted, anthers yellow, nearly sessile attached at their midpoint to tube. The styles are exerted by up to 10 mm, and the stigma is 3-lobed. The inferior ovaries 9 - 16 (-19) mm long, turn from green to purple to black as they mature as seedpods.
Blooming season (in habitat): Mainly( March-)April-June(-July), sparingly later. New and aged blossoms are present at the same time on stalks that keep growing from late spring until hard frost.
Fruit: An erect, depressed-globose capsule 9-18(-25) mm long, 10-13 mm in diameter.
Seeds: Black, flattened.
Similar species: Manfreda maculosa is so similar vegetatively to other South Texas Manfreda species that positive identification can be made only when the plant is in bloom. Its putative nearest relative, Manfreda longiflora has filaments and styles included within the tube, whereas Manfreda maculosa and the other South Texas Manfreda species have exerted filaments and styles. Also, the floral tube of Manfreda maculosa is shorter. This species is, together with A. longiflora, unusual in the Manfreda Group by having a white to yellowish perianth that darkens to rose, therewith closely approaching the Polianthes Group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) “Rare Plants of Texas: A Field Guide” Texas A&M University Press 2007
2) Umberto Quattrocchi “CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology” (5 Volume Set) CRC Press, 03/May/2012
3) Roy L. Lehman, Ruth O'Brien, Tammy White “Plants of the Texas Coastal Bend” Texas A&M University Press, 27/Feb/2009
4) Leo J. Chance “Cacti and Succulents for Cold Climates: 274 Outstanding Species for Challenging Conditions” Timber Press, 19/Jun/2012
5) Lehman, R.L., O'Brien, R., and T. White. “Plants of the Texas coastal bend.” Texas A&M Univ. Press. 2005.
6) Scott, J.A. “The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide.” Stanford Univ. Press. 1986.
7) Wikipedia contributors. "Manfreda maculosa." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Jun. 2014. Web. 28 Jul. 2014.
8) Botanical Magazine 85: pl. 5122. 1859
9) The Genera of Plants 78. 1866
10) Trans. Acad. Sci. St. Louis 3: 301. 1875
11) Rep. (Annual) Missouri Bot. Gard. 7: 71. 1896
12) Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 8(1): 17. 1903
13) Sida 2(4): 335. 1966
Cultivation and Propagation: Manfreda maculosa are summer growing plants that go dormant in winter, they restart to grow in spring, as long as they are planted in a well-drained spot where winter rains will not rot the roots.
Soil: Well-drained soils are best for this drought-tolerant rock garden or container plants.
Hardiness: This species is native to areas from south-central Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. There is no apparent reason that these plants should be able to withstand the degree of cold that they have proved they can. However, if soil drains well and plants are in a sunny position, they are dependably hardy in zone 5 -28°C if they are planted early in the growing season after all chances of frost.
Use: This desert perennial is a great accent to garden borders, rock or container gardens. Manfreda's are drought tolerant in the ground once established. They can tolerate poor soils or are great for containers.
Traditional medicine: Crushed leaves used to draw out the poison from snake and insect bites; crushed leaves applied to mumps, swellings of joints and carbuncles.
Propagation: It offsets slowly hence most of the plants on the trade comes from tissue culture. Use a succulent potting mix enriched with leaf-mould and turf, just be sure to give it good drainage. And unlike many more-tender succulents, you don’t need protection from the sun.
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