ISI 2009-11. Agave seemanniana ssp pygmaea (Gentry) Ullrich

Agave seemanniana is rather variable, resulting in its redescription under several names. A. pygmae Gentry (the spelling later corrected by Ullrich) is one of those, though Gentry acknowledged its close relationship to A. seemanniana and recognized that it might merely be a depauperate form, a consequence of its arid, limestone habitat. Nevertheless he cited floral differences as well as its caespitose nature to distinguish it from A. seemanniana. As the name implies, the rosettes of A. pygmae are small, to only 1 foot across at most, and are composed of glaucous or gray-green leaves that are usually quite flat and conspicuously narrowed at the base. The range of A. seemanniana overlaps that of Opuntia decumbens (ISI 2009-7) but extends only as far south as northern Nicaragua. The subspecies pygmaea, on the other hand, is known only from the type locality: about 20 mi north of the Guatemalan border, along the road to Comitán, Chiapas, Mexico. HBG 98577. $8.

Photo © 2009 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 81 (2), March - April, 2009