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Century Plant Or Maguey

Agave deserti Engelm.

Brief Summary

    Agave deserti: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    Agave deserti (desert agave, mescal, century plant or maguey) is an agave native to desert regions in southern California, Arizona, and Baja California. Its tall yellow flower stalks dot dry rocky slopes and washes throughout the spring.

    It forms a rosette of fleshy gray-green leaves 20–70 cm long and 4.5–10 cm broad, with sharp spines along the edges and at the tips. It flowers at maturity (20 to 40 years), sending up an inflorescence 2–6 m tall. The panicle bears numerous yellow, funnel-shaped flowers 3–6 cm long.

    There are two varieties:

    Agave deserti var. deserti. Plants usually with numerous rosettes; perianth tube 3–5 mm. Southern California only. Agave deserti var. simplex (Gentry) W.C.Hodgson & Reveal. Plants usually with one or only a few rosettes; perianth tube 5–10 mm. Southern California and Arizona.

Comprehensive Description

    Agave deserti
    provided by wikipedia

    Agave deserti (desert agave, mescal, century plant or maguey) is an agave native to desert regions in southern California, Arizona, and Baja California. Its tall yellow flower stalks dot dry rocky slopes and washes throughout the spring.

    It forms a rosette of fleshy gray-green leaves 20–70 cm long and 4.5–10 cm broad, with sharp spines along the edges and at the tips. It flowers at maturity (20 to 40 years[1]), sending up an inflorescence 2–6 m tall. The panicle bears numerous yellow, funnel-shaped flowers 3–6 cm long.

    There are two varieties:

    • Agave deserti var. deserti. Plants usually with numerous rosettes; perianth tube 3–5 mm. Southern California only.
    • Agave deserti var. simplex (Gentry) W.C.Hodgson & Reveal. Plants usually with one or only a few rosettes; perianth tube 5–10 mm. Southern California and Arizona.

    Cultivation and uses

    The desert agave is drought-tolerant but requires good drainage.

    The desert dwelling Native Americans used fibers from the leaves to make cloth, bowstrings, and rope.[1] Young flower stalks (roasted), buds, and hearts of plants (also roasted) were eaten.[1] Natives of southern California commonly harvested the "heads" using a specialized digging stick and roasted the leaves and heart alike. Food thus obtained often became a dietary staple, even into drought years.

    Alcoholic drinks were also manufactured from the sweet juices of this and other agaves.

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    A mass of flowers on an Agave deserti inflorescence
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    Agave deserti in cultivation

    References

     src= Wikimedia Commons has media related to Agave deserti.
    1. ^ a b c Dole 1996, pg. 57

Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by EOL authors
    Agave deserti occurs on rocky or gravelly soils in the Lower Colorado River Valley subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. The range extends marginally into the Arizona upland and the Mojave Desert. The Deserticolae family is present around the Gulf of California, almost throughout all of the Sonoran Desert. Agave deserti concentrations can be found in the high deserts of Southern California, Arizona and northern Baja California. In California Agave deserti is found in the Anza Borrego Desert, Palm desert and at arroyos below the western slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains. There is also a small concentration at a base level of the Providence Mountains in the Mojave Desert.

Morphology

    Description
    provided by eFloras
    Plants acaulescent or short-stemmed, sparsely or prolifically suckering, trunks 0.2–0.4 m; rosettes solitary or numerous, 3–7 × 4–8 dm, compact to rather open. Leaves ascending, widest at base, (20–)25–70 × 4.5–10 cm; blade grayish, gray- or blue-glaucous, yellowish green, or greenish, occasionally cross-zoned, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, rigid, adaxially concave, abaxially convex; margins straight or undulate to crenate, armed, teeth single, weakly attached, well defined, of 2 types, 2–3 mm or (5–) 6–8 mm, (1–)1.5–3 cm apart; apical spine light or dark brown to gray, subulate to acicular, 2–4 cm. Scape 2–6 m. Inflorescences paniculate, not bulbiferous, open; bracts persistent, triangular, 8–15 cm; lateral branches 6–15, slightly ascending, comprising distal 1/5–1/4 of inflorescence, longer than 10 cm. Flowers 12–48 per cluster, erect, 3–6 cm; perianth yellow, tube shallow, campanulate or funnelform, 3–10 × 9–15 mm, limb lobes wilting soon after anthesis, spreading, equal, 13–20 mm; stamens long-exserted; filaments inserted unequally above middle or at rim of perianth tube, erect, yellow, 2.5–3.5 (–4.2) cm; anthers yellow, 13–21 mm; ovary 1.6–4 cm, neck slightly constricted, 4–6 mm. Capsules short-pedicellate, ovoid to oblong or obovoid, 3.5–5.5 cm, apex beaked. Seeds 5–6 mm.