ISI 2003-11. Agave pendula Schnitts

As the name implies, this species produces a pendent inflorescence. Though Fig. 9.10 in Gentry’s Agaves of Continental North America (1982) appears to indicate otherwise, it soon becomes evident that the photo was published upside down. The rosettes grow to about 2' in diameter and bear relatively few leaves, 20-30 per rosette. This makes sense in view of the cliff-side habitat of the species. A heavier structure might make for a precarious existence, as plants would regularly drop off to less favorable sites below. Fig 9.9 in Gentry—a fine lithograph from Hort. Bot. Pan. (1876-1878)—indicates that it can grow more symmetrically in cultivation. Indeed, our plant more closely resembles the lithograph than the rather lax specimen in the photo. Miguel Cházaro illustrates an article about this species in Cactus Adventures 49:12 (Jan. 2001) with several informative photos. They reveal that plants can grow into more robust specimens like ours on more-level lava flows, whereas cliff-side specimens often have pendent, stolon-like stems to several feet long, bearing a number of rosettes along their length. Ours flowered in the spring of 2000 and proved to be self-fertile, so we are able to offer seedlings of HBG 89145, a plant collected Feb. 12, 1993, by Kimnach (3377), Cházaro and Negrete, at 500' alt., at the bottom of the canyon of the Río Panoaga, W of Dos Caminos, ca. 30 km. W of the city of Veracruz, Veracruz state, Mexico. $9.50.

Photo © 2003 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 75 (2), March - April, 2003