Sunday, February 8, 2015

Agaves at the Desert Botanical Garden (A—L)

The Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) in Phoenix, Arizona has one of the most diverse public collections of cacti and agaves anywhere in the world. In May 2010, its Cactacaea and Agavacea collections received formal recognition from the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) as National Collections. The Cactacaea collection at the DBG has close to 8,000 living specimens from 1,319 species, which represents almost 75% of all cactus species in existence. The Agavacea collection includes more than 2,500 specimens from over 340 species and varieties in the nine genera that make up the Agavacea family: Agave, Beschorneria, Furcraea, Hesperaloe, Hesperoyucca, Manfreda, Polianthes, Prochnyanthes, and Yucca.

During my 2013 and 2014 Arizona trips I visited the DBG five separate times. I photographed anything and everything in the garden, but my main focus ended up being on agaves. Out of the several thousand photos I took of the agave specimens at the DBG, here are 200 representing some 80 species, varieties and hybrids. There are many more I either missed or couldn’t photograph because the lighting was too harsh, but there’s always next time.

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Agave ovatifolia and Yucca rostrata

Since a single post with 200 photos would be much too long, I decided to split it into two parts, and even that is pushing it. Part 1 contains agave species A (× ajoensis) — L (lurida), part 2 species M (macroacantha) – Z (zebra). For each species I indicate where it’s native to and how cold-hardy it is. Maybe I will add more extensive information over time, but editing so many photos and compiling this post has already taken far longer than I had initially thought.

As you will see, not every agave species is equally attractive or garden-worthy but there is something for every taste and landscaping situation.

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AGAVE ×AJOENSIS

Native to: Southern Arizona (Ajo Mountains)

Hardy to: 15°F

Note: Agave ×ajoensis is a naturally occurring sterile hybrid between Agave deserti var. simplex and Agave schottii var. schottii.

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AGAVE ALBOMARGINATA

Native to: Unknown

Hardy to: possibly as hardy as Agave lechuguilla (-10°F)

Note: Originally described by Gentry as a “horticultural novelty” at the Huntington Gardens, it is thought to be variety or horticultural selection of Agave lechuguilla.

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AGAVE AMERICANA

Native to: U.S. (Arizona, Texas), Mexico

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE AMERICANA VAR. MARGINATA

Native to: U.S. (Arizona, Texas), Mexico

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE ANGUSTIFOLIA

Native to: Mexico, Central America, Caribbean

Hardy to: xx

Note: See this article for more information regarding the confusion about Agave angustifolia vs. Agave vivipara.

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AGAVE ×ARIZONICA

Native to: Central Arizona (New River Mountains, near Maricopa-Yavapai county line north of Phoenix)

Hardy to: 0°F

Note: Agave ×arizonica is a naturally occurring hybrid between Agava chrysantha and Agave toumeyana var. bella.

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AGAVE ASPERRIMA SSP. ASPERRIMA

Native to: Northern Mexico (Chihuahuan Desert)

Hardy to: 10°F

Note: The plant labels at the DBG still give the old name, Agave scabra.

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Agave asperrima in the front; Agave americana in the back

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AGAVE ASPERRIMA SSP. ZARCENSIS

Native to: Northern Mexico (NE Durango State)

Hardy to: 10°F

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AGAVE ATTENUATA

Native to: Central Mexico (Jalisco east to México State)

Hardy to: 28°F

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AGAVE ‘BLUE GLOW’

Hardy to: 20°F

Note: Hybrid between Agave attenuata and Agave ocahui.created by Kelly Griffin.

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AGAVE BOVICORNUTA

Native to: Northern Mexico (Sierra Madre Occidental) 

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE CAPENSIS

Native to: Western Mexico (Baja California)

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE CERULATA SSP. CERULATA

Native to: Western Mexico (Baja Calfornia)

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE CERULATA SSP. DENTIENS

Native to: Western Mexico (Baja Calfornia)

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE CERULATA SSP. SUBCERULATA

Native to: Western Mexico (Baja Calfornia)

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE CHAZAROI

Native to: East-Central Mexico (Jalisco)

Hardy to: 32°F

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AGAVE CHRYSANTHA

Native to: US (Central Arizona)

Hardy to: 10°F

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AGAVE CHRYSOGLOSSA

Native to: Northern Mexico (coastal Sonora)

Hardy to: 28°F

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AGAVE COLORATA

Native to: Northern Mexico (southern Sonora, northern Sinaloa)

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE DATYLIO VAR. VEXANS

Native to: Western Mexico (Baja California Sur)

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE DELAMATERI

Native to: Central Arizona (Tonto Basin)

Hardy to: 20°F?

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AGAVE DESERTI VAR. DESERTI

Native to: US (Southern California, southern Arizona), NW Mexico (Baja California Norte)

Hardy to: 10°F

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AGAVE DESMETTIANA

Native to: Eastern Mexico (tropical and subtropical)

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE ‘DIANITA’

Hardy to: 20°F?

Note: ‘Dianita’ is thought to be a cross between Agave utahensis and Agave × arizonica.

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AGAVE DURANGENSIS

Native to: Northern Mexico (Durango and Zacatecas)

Hardy to: 0°F

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AGAVE FELGERI

Native to: Northern Mexico (coastal Sonora)

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE FLEXISPINA

Native to: Northern Mexico (Chihuaha, Durango)

Hardy to: 15°F

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AGAVE FOURCROYIDES

Native to: Southern Mexico, Guatemala

Hardy to: 28°F

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AGAVE FRANZOSINII

Native to: Mexico (exact origins unknown; only known from cultivated populations)

Hardy to: 15°F

Note: According to the The Plant List (a cooperation between Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden), the correct name is now Agave beauleriana.

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AGAVE GEMINIFLORA

Native to: West-central Mexico (Nayarit)

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE ×GLOMERULIFLORA

Native to: U.S. (SW Texas, Chisos Mountains)

Hardy to: 10°F

Note: A naturally occurring hybrid between Agave lechuguilla and Agave parryi ssp. neomexicana.

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AGAVE GUADALAJARANA

Native to: West-central Mexico (Nayarit, Guadalajara)

Hardy to: 25°F

Note: Two distinct forms exist: one that is pale blue and one that is on the green side of turquoise.

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AGAVE GUIENGOLA

Native to: Central Mexico (Oaxaca)

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE HAVARDIANA

Native to: U.S. (SW Texas, northern Mexico)

Hardy to: -10°F

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AGAVE HIEMIFLORA

Native to: Southern Mexico and Guatamala

Hardy to: 25°F

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AGAVE HORRIDA

Native to: Central Mexico

Hardy to: 30°F

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AGAVE ‘HUMMEL’

Native to: ??

Hardy to: ??

Note: I wasn’t able to find out anything about this hybrid but it looks similar to ‘Blue Glow’, so possibly another cross between Agave attenuata and Agave ocahui.

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AGAVE ISTHMENSIS

Native to: Southern Mexico (Isthmus of Tehuantepec)

Hardy to: 28°F

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AGAVE KARWINSKII

Native to: South-central Mexico (Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz)

Hardy to: 25°F

Note: One of the rare agaves that forms a stem (to 6 ft.).

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AGAVE LECHUGUILLA

Native to: Chihuahuan Desert (Texas, Mexico)

Hardy to: -10°F

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AGAVE LOPHANTHA

Native to: North-Central Mexico

Hardy to: 5°F

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AGAVE LURIDA

Native to: Central Mexico (Oaxaca)

Hardy to: 28°F?

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11 comments:

  1. Wow! Wonderful agaves! I lusted over several of them. Thanks for sharing your journeys and letting me live vicariously through them.

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    1. Nothing makes me happier :-).

      More agaves to come in part 2, hopefully on Tuesday, 2/10/15.

      Delete
  2. As succulents, even some agaves, are often sold without proper labeling here, I'm glad to have a resource like this. Thanks for sharing your records and photos!

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    1. I'm pretty fanatical about plant labels so I try hard to ID all the plants I post. The DBG does about as good a job as can be expected from a garden this size. I really appreciate their efforts.

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  3. This is epic! Thank you for taking the time to catalogue your artistic photos like this, what a resource. I find myself lusting after several that I've never seen available for sale, just as well, since I probably have enough already.

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    Replies
    1. I found quite a few agave species at the DBG I'd never seen before. Not every one of them is attractive, but that's neither here nor there :-).

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  4. Fantastic effort Gerhard and will become a handy resource and reference online for Agaves!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you think so. If nothing else, maybe it will help people identify agaves they're not sure about.

      Delete
  5. Great job Gerhard! I wonder though about your true motives... is this perhaps a plant shopping list disguised as a "reference"? ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yes and no. Many of these species are not exactly beauties and I wouldn't want them in my garden.

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  6. Glad to definitively know about the two forms of A. guadalajarana. I had that pale blue, lost it, and keep buying more but they're the green form that I've been hoping will grow up to be blue. Guess not. I do like isthmensis and colorata. And wouldn't you know they'd change franzosinii's name? What an effort this was -- thank you!

    ReplyDelete