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 Agave striata vs. Agave stricta 
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:55 pm
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Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Jay, it is my understanding that stricta flowers are dark red to purple, which is what I have always based the tentative ID of mine and this plant on. Is that not correct?

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:44 am
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:37 pm
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Location: Redhill, Surrey, UK
Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Stone Jaguar wrote:

Keith, based on my experience with this sp., your plant should produce a number of offsets in the upper regions of the rosette as the stalk senesces. They are essentially impossible to separate as viable offsets until very well-developed and this will involve breaking up the mother plant and lots of (your) blood. Stalk will dry woody and require a hacksaw or heavy-duty branch pruner to take out if left on for too long. Alternately, you can follow Paul's reco and let the original plant decay over time and pull out the dead bits piecemeal as they come loose.

Others...please note, there are red/purple populations of all the taxa discussed here. Unless you know origin for certain, very difficult to ID youngsters. Little argument that var. falcata is very, very freeze hardy if kept dryish.

Jay


Jay, many thanks for your post, really interesting.

It's sad, but after waiting 35 years for the plant to flower I'm going to have to cut the top of the flower stalk back soon so that I can shut the greenhouse door. Such is life.

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:19 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:12 pm
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Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala 1600 m.a.s.l.
Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Keith:

I think that you will find any offsets you generate won't require anywhere near 35 years to reflower, so not a total loss.

Paul: I have not heard flower color as key character (if so, a very unreliable one), but rather the size and ratios of corolla parts as being the most consistent variants. The confusion in plant ID seems far more prevalent in the UK than on our side of the pond. Perhaps it is because more plants here have origin data definitively linking them to the various populations and the corresponding epithets?

Again, in cultivation at least, I find that A. stricta generally has a much larger diameter at flowering, is more frondose and has a markedly more globular form when grown root free and hard. Also, IME, stricta offsets at and after flowering in the middle and upper parts of the rosettes from between the leaf bases, while striata commonly begins to offset basally years prior to flowering.

There is a very interesting study of the different striata populations published last year by a group of Mexican researchers. See summary: https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... vironments

I have read this paper a few times and came away with the distinct impression that the authors were teetering on the verge of segregating/elevating var. falcata back to full species status but were reluctant to do so based on current understanding of the genetics of these populations.

I don't have pictures of my green Tehuacan plants in Guatemala, but have attached a few from my old collection in Guatemala, my new garden collection in California and the Phoenix DBG that may prove interesting since two of the plants shown have good locality data and the DBG plant is - well - a wild accession ID'd by their staff.

Agave stricta, young red form grown in Guatemala from wild-collected offset, Tehuacan Valley, Puebla, Guy Wrinkle, GW Rare Exotic Plants
Image

Agave stricta, young green form grown in Arizona-northern California, group of large cultivated offsets being re-established prior to planting out, "Puebla-Oaxaca", Bob Webb, Arid Lands Greenhouses
Image
Image

Agave striata var. falcata, young green form grown in northern California from wild-collected seed, offsetting from base, upper Huasteca Canyon, Nuevo Leon, anon.
Image
Image

Agave striata var. falcata, mature green form, flowering clump, wild accession, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ
Image


Cheers,

J

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:21 pm
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Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Stone Jaguar wrote:
The confusion in plant ID seems far more prevalent in the UK than on our side of the pond. Perhaps it is because more plants here have origin data definitively linking them to the various populations and the corresponding epithets?


Quite possibly. Cultivated plants here are pot grown, not grown outside - it is only really the last 15 years or so that folks are beginning to grow a wider range of agaves outside. But in view of your comments on size it is strange to note that in habitat striata are much larger than stricta. I've seen both.

Still, you Mercans don't necessarily always get it right, either :)

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:27 pm
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Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala 1600 m.a.s.l.
Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Paul Spracklin wrote:
But in view of your comments on size it is strange to note that in habitat striata are much larger than stricta. I've seen both...

...Still, you Mercans don't necessarily always get it right, either :)


Paul, I'm not sure that there is a "right" side of this issue for now and until we have a full molecular-based accounting for the key populations. In the meanwhile, I believe that there are good key characters for flowering plants that buttress arguments that these are two "good" spp. but also accept that it is very hard, if not impossible, to reliably differentiate them when young if origin is unknown. As to size of mature wild plants, AFAIR, I am not familiar with A. striata var striata in habitat, but have seen and grown lots of the other two taxa being discussed and would have wrote exactly the opposite of your comment.

Proximity and number of researchers in the field gives US and Mexican (also "American") botanists and nurserymen an obvious advantage and additional insights over those based in the UK. I'm at a loss to recall a recent peer-reviewed and widely-disseminated paper (travelogues in C&S journals aside) dealing with agave taxonomy, genetics, ethnobotany or ecology by a Brit, but am open to the possibility that one or more are out there.

Jay

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:05 pm
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Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
You are quite right. There are no academics in the UK studying these plants, so that just leaves us tourists. What was I thinking?

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Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:08 pm
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Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Stone Jaguar wrote:
As to size of mature wild plants, AFAIR, I am not familiar with A. striata var striata in habitat, but have seen and grown lots of the other two taxa being discussed and would have wrote exactly the opposite of your comment.


You have your answer right there - you are not familiar with striata, which is the largest of these types. Despite not being a North American or, indeed, having any peer reviewed papers to my name I have seen this in habitat several times with my poor old unreliable amateur eyes. :)

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Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:40 am
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Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala 1600 m.a.s.l.
Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Then I guess we should thank you for handily resolving a previously intractable taxonomic puzzle that has left many others scratching their heads and examining floral characters for clues.

"Largest" rosette types in nature all represent Agave striata var. striata.

Check.

Silly me. I thought it was a bit more nuanced than that, but I am clearly mistaken.

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Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:08 pm
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Post Re: Agave striata vs. Agave stricta
Slick :lol:

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Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:56 pm
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