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Agave chazaroi and Agave rzedowskiana

 

The Agave group is divided into three genera: Littaea, Agave and Manfreda. The Littaea group is split into eight sections where the newly found species Agave chazaroi (named after its discoverer and describer Michuel chazaroi) is placed in the subsection of Serrulatae (or Amolae). The official description (Act Botanical) is still to be published (as far as I am aware on 10 september 2008).

The rare Agave chazaroi can be found in the region of Tequila in th estate of Jalisco. Agave chazaroi grows at altitudes of around 1000 meters. With its first leaves Agave chazaroi seedlings highly resemble species like Agave titanota and Agave ghiesbrechtii with big teethlike leave rims. However, plants between 1-3 years of age show no teath. Young chazaroi plants are of unique beauty. Leaves are relatively wide and have a deep green color with red brownish rims. The leaves of young Agave chazaroi have a wavelike form, in contrast to older plants which develop a more yellow type of leaf in their natural habitat. Soil and climate are major factors here. Older plants also have a more firm leaf form where the red colorations have disappeared.

Soon after the discovery of Agave chazaroi some people believed that the "missing" Agave bakeri (syn. Agave gilbertii) was closely related but now it seems that we are dealing with a new species. A species worth to have in your collection.

Another recently discovered Agave species is Agave rzedowskiana. This species was described in 2003 by Pablo Carrillo, Rito Vega and Raymundo Degadillo. This species was placed in the group of Littaea (subgroup Striatae).

Agave rzedowskiana grows in Sinaloa and Jalisco, in the southern regions of Sierra Madre Occidental. The species highly resembles the compact form of Agave stricta and in some way Agave petrophila and agave dasylirioides. The plant which was used for the first description was found in 2001 at an altitude of 1680 meters in Jalisco near San Cristobal de la Barranca. This unique compact Agave can reach diameters of 45 cm with a height of around 40 cm, a rather roundly shaped plant. The leaves of Agave rzedowskiana are a greyish green and single plants could have upto 260 of them! The width of those leaves reach a maximum of 2 cm. Flowering is typical for Agave plants belonging to the group of Littaea. The y produce a long stem with around 200 flowers with green/purper colors. The size of the flowers is about 2.5 cm and the fruit reaches a length of 1.3 cm with a diameter of approximately 1 cm. Agave rzedowskiana is found in a high landscape with forests and a rocky soil. Other Agave species in this region are Agave guadalajarana, Agave pedunculifera and Agave schidigera. The flowering period is in the months of februari and march. Fruits ripen in august and september.

Etymology: The name Agave rzedowskiana is derived from Dr. Jerzy Rzedowski (born in 1926). Dr. Rzedowski, probably with Polish ancestors, has contributed alot to the knowledge on Mexican flora. He was connected to the American-Columbian Ecological Institute.