ISI 2017-8. Agave sobria subsp. frailensis Gentry

This attractive subspspecies forms rosettes to about 0.5 m diameter of relatively few, thick, arching, glaucous leaves with prominent bud imprints and mammillate margins. One might be confused, as I was, when trying to confirm the identity of our plant using Gentry’s Agaves of Continental North America. Gentry’s key leads to subsp. sobria by virtue of the leaves being 6 – 10 times longer than wide (10 times in ours). However, the mammillate leaf margins and range lead to subsp. frailensis. The descriptions of the subspecies have conflicting details and the photos also seem to be contradictory. However, our plant closely matches plants observed in the Cape region of Baja by others so we have some confidence in ascribing our plant to subsp. frailensis. Is it possible that Gentry confused his notes or illustrations when preparing his monumental work? Perhaps he was human after all! We offer tissue-cultured plants of HBG 100266 collected by Burl Mostul at Punta Frailes, Baja Calif. Sur, Mexico. $8.

Photo © 2017 by Karen Zimmerman. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 89 (3), May-June, 2017