ISI 2013-20. Furcraea macdougallii Matuda

Not to be confused with the genus Fouquieria (ISI 2013-19), furcraeas are slender-leaved agave relatives. The latter are known for their stately, paniculate inflorescences that typically yield hundreds of small plantlets, called bulbils, affording a convenient means of vegetative propagation. In a couple of species, including F. macdougallii, the plants are especially long-lived—this clone was first introduced as ISI 459 in 1965, then from subsequent flowerings as ISI 1657 in 1986, and as ISI 90-59—forming impressive, trunked specimens topped by massive rosettes of sword-like leaves. In these species, the span between generations is great enough that by the time the monocarpic plants come into flower, one is ready for another infusion of small plants to repopulate the landscape. One of our specimens at the Huntington recently flowered so we are in a position to offer the next generation of plants. We offer trios of bulbils which one can divide among friends or use to create a grove of what will ultimately be tree-sized specimens. The species is native to the states of Oaxaca and Puebla, in southern Mexico, but is found just as commonly around some villages as in the wild, a testament, perhaps, to how fun it is to grow these from ready-made, packaged-by-nature, propagules. Three bulbils, ready to root, of HBG 18137, originally from the type locality, near Km 713, along the Cristobal Colon Hwy, ca. 80 km. NE of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. $5.

Photo © 2013 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 85 (2), March - April, 2013