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Dec 16, 2011: Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata

Today's image is courtesy of Priscilla Burcher (aka PriscillaBurcher@Flickr), and I believe this is the first time we've featured one of Priscilla's photographs on BPotD, so, thanks and welcome! The image was submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original image).

As noted in Wikipedia, Agave attenuata is one of the few unarmed Agave species. While technically correct, it may be better to use the term "spineless" instead of unarmed, as the former provides additional information; most Agave have spines on the leaf margins (unarmed means lacking spines, prickles, or thorns).

Native to three Mexican states, Jalisco, México and Michoacán, Agave attenuata is associated with rocky outcrops in pine forests at elevations from 1900m to 2500m (6200 to 8200ft.). It is thought to be relatively rare in the wild. In cultivation, however, it is a popular ornamental in warmer climates, and I've seen it in several California public gardens. Many additional images of the species are available via the Plants of Hawaii web site: Agave attenuata, including one that makes me think unpleasant thoughts about others.

A few English common names are used for the species, including swan's neck agave, lion's tail agave and foxtail agave.


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