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The History about Agave ellemeetiana Jac.
Itst the only one Agave that has been named to a Dutchman
Agave ellemeetiana, Jac, Draw from 1888 in Curtis Botanical Magazine (Thanks to Roy Mottram)
To make a collection of succulent plants in the past, we think that the time when the first plant came to Europe from far exotic countries, it was a hobby for the very rich people. In the 17th and 18th centuries making nice collections for the people in their castles and big houses.
Agaves especially had a big part to play knowing that this plant only makes a flower once in its lifetime! The rich people were the only ones having the finance to make that kind of travel possible.
The ships and boats from the old V.O.C.The Dutch Union of East Indian company bringing not only spices to Europe but also plants, sometimes going with the ships to the east and the west were the Botanists. The plants they collected going to the botanical gardens, and most of the time they used the plants for medical research. Later came the plant collectors who then sold the plants to dealers or directly to the rich people. In those days the rich people paying €500 or more for only one Agave!
Now we live in a completely different time, we have the time and the money to buy all what we like. But special are the stories around our plants this makes every plant special. Interesting also is searching in old literature and reading how it all started.
A plant coming out at the time of the old ships and long travelling is Agave ellemeetiana. Jos van Roosbroeck a Belgie, Specialist about Agaves brought to my attention that this plant is the only one Agave named to a Dutchman. He gave me an old copy from the magazine “Wochenschrift des Vereines zur Beforderung des Gartenbaues in den Koniglichen preussischen Staaten fur gartnerei und pflanzenkunde ‘from Professor Doctor Karl Koch in 1871 with the mandate that this enquiry is something for you Dutchman!
In reading the copy from the “Wochenschrift the man named “De Jonge van Ellemeet” had one of the biggest collections in his property with 137 different species of Agaves. But many of them are species from the same sort. Most of the plants are from the same species as A.Celsii, A.Americana, A. salmiana, A. angustifolia, and A.lophantha. Mr. De Jonge van Ellemeet had also described himself an Agave, it was called A. erubescens. Later it was synonym for . A.vivipara var.vivipara. In the book “Gardens and landscapes from Zeeland” its an edition from the Dutch Garden Society, I found the name Ellemeet for the first time. The man was the owner of the country estate “Overduin” The pictures from his big home you can see in the book. The home is still there. Not far from the small town of “Renesse” on “Schouwen-Duivenland”. In Zeeland is also a very small village with the name Ellemeet. With my plant friend Bertus Spee from Zeeland I make contact and ask him, as man from Zeeland ( Zeeland is an province in the most South West from Holland) knew some more about Agave ellemeetiana. Together with his plant friend Tonnie de Rijke they had already earlier found a resource about Agave ellemeetiana, they have made a publication in the society journal from the Succulenta club Zeeland “Zeeculenta” from October 1996. So you see a lot of information you can find in very small publications. The most of the information is found in the documentation centre from the Zeeland library in Middelburg.
From Tonnie I get a copy from the for sale catalogue of the collection of Mr. De Jonge van Ellemeet, but this was in the French language but Jos van Roosbroeck, the Belgium Agave lover makes for me the translation.
Agave ellemeetiana in the Botanical Garden of Berlin Dahlem. Pict.Ivana Richter.
Together with Jos van Roosbroeck we found the names of the Agaves belongs to the numbers in the for sale catalogue from. Mr. De Jonge van Ellemeet but Ellemeet has also used the numbers from the system of the “Jacobischen Nachtrache” from 1869 -1872.
We decided to use the for sale catalogue and also the “Wochenschrift “from Prof.Koch from September 1871. So we found the whole collection with numbers and observations together. We found them all together and so we are going to the next story.
Agave ellemeetiana was described in 1865 by G.A von Jacobi in the“Hamburger Blumen und Gartenzeitung,he lives in Berlin.
George Albano von Jacobi (1805-1874) was an amateur botanist and made a study and he also arranges the import of the Agaves to Europe. So he arranged for a lot of Agaves to come to Mr. De Jonge van Ellemeet but also to the Botanical Gardens at Kew in London and for example the famous gardens of La Mortola in Italy. The Agave ellemeetiana from La Mortola has in the meantime disappeared.
In the summer of 1990 I discover Bernd Ullrich (A famous Agave specialist but alas he is no longer active) one plant in flower in the garden from Mr.Elio Mengarellii in Laigueglia on the Italian Riviera. He was also the owner of the Hotel Paradiso. Bernd Ullrich got seeds from the plant in 1991 and gave the seeds to Jos van Roosbroeck the Belgian Agave specialist. The seeds grew well and 50 seedlings coming out of the ground. Some of the seedlings coming to Bernd Ullrich in Pforzheim Germany and most of the plants going to Germany and the South of France, the rest of the plants are distributed in Belgium and Holland. In Italy there are no seeds or plants distributed because that Mr. Mengarelli passed away in October 1991. In the decease notice we read that his son Alberto took care of the collection, but in 2003 we have been there and we saw that the hotel is in rebuilding and the collection was in a bad condition we have only one Agave if we can save it.
Except the plants distributed by Bernd Ullrich is one old clone from A. ellemeetiana in the collection at Kew gardens. I distribute now the only few plants I have found in Holland to the collection of the botanical Gardens of Amsterdam and the Butterfly Gardens “Vlindertuin Berkenhof” in Kwadamme Zeeland.
The hole staf of the city of Oostkapelle from these days 1891-1895.
In 2004 we receive a notice that A. ellemeetiana had made a flower in the Botanical Gardens of Berlin-Dahlem! We have made work about this notice and we have found out that Ms Ivana Richter have taken pictures of the flowering plant so you can find it on the site now. The picture made by Bernd Ullrich from the flowering plant in Italy has been lost so that means that this is the first coloured picture of A.ellemeetiana.
Jacobi was so kind to name this plant to his friend Ellemeet, like now also in the past enchanted friends plants with each one.
The complete name from Mr.Ellemeet is “Jonkheer Willem Cornelis Mary de jonge van Ellemeet” mayor of the city Oostkapelle, he lives from 1811 till 1888. The name De Jonge van Ellemeet is a very old Dutch family that found his origin with married and inherit.
A. ellemeetiana it is easy to recognize with its broad green lancet shaped leaves, without side-spines and a soft end spine. The leaves are fat, strong and very shiny and smooth. No danger for kids! I have only one plant in my collection and the culture is without any problem. In the wintertime I have the plant frost free in a Greenhouse, and in the summer remove the plant to open air but not in the full sun. Because of the green colour of the leaves you can see that the plant is in a shaded place and loves a lot of water. I found the plant in a 10cm pot and for two years it did not grow well, but after two years it has started growing and now it is 50 cm tall.
Plant with the etiket A. ellemeetiana in the Botanicle Garden of The Free University of Amsterdam but it is Agave polyacantha var. xalapensis now A. obscura.
Agave ellemeetiana is undoubtedly allied to the famous A. attenuate also a species with no spines on the leaves. Gentry (1982) has placed A. ellemeetiana in the group “Choritepalae” together with A. bracteosa and A. guiengola . A.attenuate placed by Gentry in the group Amolae together with A. bakeri, A.chrysoglossa, A. nizandensis, A. ocahui, A. ocahui var. longifolia, A. pedunculifera, A. vilmoriniana and A. yuccaefolia.
Bernd Ullrich does not agree with this opinion of Gentry . He makes a new system in his “Vorschlag Agavensystematik for the IOS-Lexicon”(1991) and placed the whole group in the “Attenuatae”. Except A.nizandensis this species is now in the new group “Nizandensae” as the only one,also A yuccaefolia is the only one Agave now as A. spicata in the group “Yuccaefolia”. Finally A. pedunculifera is now a subspecies of A. attenuate with the name A. attenuate ssp.dentata. In the “Vorschlag they understand this but you can read that Bernd is thinking that A. ellemeetiana is only a“gartenkloon” (Gardenskloon) from an A. pedunculifera with very broad leaves. In 2007 we got some information that the site of A.ellemeetiana has been refound! That means that also A.ellemeetiana in his guide placed it in the group “Attenuatae”.
In the C&S.J.(U.S.), nr.4 (2002) we read that A. ellemeetiana has been refound in Oaxaca (Garcia-Mendoza) but in 2007 we got some more information and the plant is not been found in Oaxaca but in Veracruz.
In the documentation centre of the library of Middelburg you can find an old catalogue from the collection of Mr.Ellemeet. In that catalogue you can read that the plants are for sale by bidding for it on auction at“ Overduin” on 22 September 1873 by Notaris Woutersen from Middelburg but in the archives from the notes we didn’t find anything about it, but Tonnie de Rijke arranged a copy from the catalogue. With the exception of Agaves you can also find Furcrea’s (in that time spelt as fourcroya’s) and Beschorneria’s. Total you can find 323 plants in the catalogue. We have tried to find a picture from Mr.de Jonge van Ellemeet but probably he lives just before the photograph time started, but many thanks to Tonnie he has arranged an old black and white picture from the whole staff of the city of Oostkapelle from these days. In the picture you can find his son. This picture you can find on this site, because it gives the atmosphere of that time so lovely!
Mr.F.Nagtglas has made a biography from de Jonge van Ellemeet, here you can read that the whole collection is donated to the Zoo of Bleidorp Rotterdam, but in these times the staff of the Zoo know nothing about it. But in an old small book from J.M.van den Houten from 1927 named “ vetplanten” we found a picture from an A. ellemeetiana in flower! The picture is mades in the Zoo! It is also nice that in the book you can find 10 more pictures from Agaves. Some of the plants growing in old wooden pots from the West Indians, nice pots with iron handles. That is what you can read in the old for sale list from De Jonge van Ellemeet! Albert Hofman a book friend of mine brings to my attention an old painting in the book from 1879 Monografie delle Agave, edited by V.Rasoli, Firenze, Italy from Agave ellemeetiana. If you check rescources about old descriptions from plants there is always a doubt of we have the real plant in resource. Many plants are described without a picture or painting, but if you can find a painting or picture there is no doubt anymore.
Trelease (1920) makes the suggestion that probably the plant is coming from Jalapa Veracruz, Mexico. Berger (1915) makes a publication of Agave ellemeetiana with a picture taken in La Mortola Italy.You can see a long flower stalk but we have our doubts because of the small leaves and especially the many cuttings, A.ellemeetiana makes no cuttings!
Plant with the etiket Agave maximowiczianain the Free University,also A.obscura.
A very nice picture you can find in Gentry (1982) page 96. It is a young plant the picture is taken in the famous Kew Gardens England. The same plant you can also find in Succulenta 1977 page 70 photographed by J.A.Jansen. Also we have a copy from the famous “Curtis Botanical Magazine” This very nice colour picture you can find in this article. Only what we need is a flowering species in habitat!
In the Botanical Garden of the Free University of Amsterdam, in the Boeckhorststreet is a nice collection of Agaves. There is also an plant with the etiquette of A. ellemeetiana, but we see immediately that this was not A.ellemeetiana, the leaves are to small for en A. ellemeetiana. In the first place we think it was maybe an A. vilmoriniana. But if you look more closely we see that the plant has very small teeth on the leaves, and A. vilmoriniana has no teeth! After a long study we come to the conclusion that this plant must be A. polyacantha var. xalapensis you can find it in Gentry (1982) but in Eggli (2001) it is the plant renamed to A..obscura. That must be O.K. See the picture.
Another plant we have pictured in Amsterdam was tagged with the name A.maximowicziana, this plant was also coming from the group with A. vilmoriniana and A.obscura. This plant has also very small teeth on the leaves. After a study we found out that A. maximowicziana is an old name, not just by Gentry but in Berger also (1915) we found the name going back as a synonym from A.polyacantha ssp.polyacantha. A. maximowicziana was described in 1890 by Regel, from a plant growing in the Botanical Garden of St. Petersburg.
In Bergers reading we see that the plant is allied with A.densiflora, but in Gentry it is A. densiflora synonym with A. polyacantha, we study and now we are thinking, but in Eggli (2001) it is A. densiflora synonym with A.mitis var. mitis and also Eggli(2001) makes A.polyacantha a synonym from A. evadens, but in Gentry we don’t find the name evadens! But Eggli makes “Falls der Name A. polyantha wirklich artgle ich is, hatte er prioritat” that means .If the name A.polyantha from a real sort is to give A. polyantha priority. But we don’t talk about A.polyacantha but A. polyantha. This is not simple
But the plant in Amsterdam with the etiquette A. maximowicziana is undoubted also an A. obscura. In the mean time we have been in 2006 on the site of A. obscura in Vera Cruz Mexico and there you find plants with small and longer side teeth on the leaves (succulenta 5/2006)
You can find A. maximowicziana with the old etiquette still in Amsterdam, but it is better an old etiquette than a wrong etiquette.
Finely about this story, on the old etiquette from A. maximowicziana also states that the plant is coming From the Zoo Bleidorp in Rotterdam, and a lot of plants in Bleidorp are probably coming from De Jonge van Ellemeet, maybe also this plant is coming from the old collection of De Jonge van Ellemeet.
We now have the opinion that the collection of De Jonge van Ellemeet in that time was not a complete sell out. The notary don’t know how much money the sale took. That means that probably a big part of the collection was given as a present to de Zoo of Rotterdam.
Agave Ellemeetiana, Painting from F.G. Baker: Monografie delle Agave, edited by V.Rosoli, Firenze Italia 1879.
This is a translation from the old For Sale catalogue from the collection of Mr De Jonge van Ellemeet, translated by Jos van Roosbroeck from French to Dutch and from Dutch to English with help from my Scottish friend Doug Donaldson
From the complete collection of plants of Agaves, Fourcroya’s and Boschorneria’s and some other plants from the owner M. de Jonge Van Ellemeet
For sale by auction bids from Gardeners and collectors of plants the owner of this catalogue in the castle “ Overduin” Oostkapelle is the neighbour of Middelburg province Zeeland. By Notaris L.L.Woutersen living in Middelburg.Monday 22 September 1973, 9.00 am
A lot of my friends and specially my Agave friends are surprised that I decided to separate plants from my collection, that gave me so many years of pleasure in all of my free time.
But I am asking you, is it not better that these plants in good condition should be given away to other people than to see the plants start to slowly die because they get no care anymore.
In the mean time I am now 60 years old. I want to thank my working people that gave me help for 30 years with my gardens work. I no longer have to bring the plant in the spring outside and in autumn again back into the greenhouses. I will thank everyone that has made it possible for me to grow these plants coming from as far away as the province Zeeland, which is only 5 minutes from the Sea where they grow and make flowers.
Nobody can come in to the garden and buy the plants for sale without the catalogue.
The sale is by Cash only with 10% commission for the sales expenses.
For one Pound we pay 12 Dutch Guldens. Francs 47,5 cents, for one Chilling 60 cents and Daalders 180 cents.
The last and highest bidder is the owner.
All plants are in good condition and after purchase they are all the risk for the new owner. All the plants will be packed and distributed to the buyer in two weeks after the sale
The sale is by auction bidding in Franken by a bailiff.
All the plants except a few have been three years potted in Indian wooden pots with Iron hand vats and painting in an oil paint without colour. The drainage for the plants is in good condition. For more information you can go to the owner of the plants and the Notari L.L.Woutersen, Vlasmarkt the Middelburg,
It is possible that you can view the collection every day if you send a request to the castle gardener.
By the organisation of the plants I follow the system of M. de Luinenat Generaal G.M.Jacobi.
The title from his paper from seine exelentie is “Nachtrag zu den verzuch einer Systematischen Ordnung der Agaven’Breslau. Druck von Grass, Barth et Comp.(W.Friedrich)
The writing you can also read (not completed in “Le Hamburger Gartenzeitung” from M.Otto Ann 1864-1867. See also Prof.Koch’s Wochenschrift 1864, pag.161 in 1871. pag 289; La Belgique horticole, march, april,may and june 1871 page 115 according Prof.E.Morren.
Catalog of the collection of M.de Jonge van Ellemeet
Observations from the for sale catalogue 1873.
- filifera Salm. Between the filifera’s where the difference is not known. A well known nursery send me two plants.
- filamentosa Salm, they send me after my order what I seen in the catalogue as a striped agave. But I see no stripes! It is better that I don’t give the name of the man selling this plant!
- schidigera Lem. I don’t know if this is really the real A. schidigera lem. A very nice plant I seen it in the rich collection of M. de Baron de Kerckhove in d’Óusselghem in Gent. The marks from the veins on the leaves are less spectacular than on my plants, but the plants are different from my A.filamentosa s. filifera major????
- verschaffeltii M.J.Verschaffelt in Gent gave his name to this variety but I see it as A. lophanta.
- lophanta Schiede A real sort that I buy from Bessener in 1868 on his return to Europe.
- An assortment; of seedlings the result of lophanta and Xylacantha by M van K. van Ousselghem and for sale by M.J.V.
- univittata Haw. Karatto Mill. I don’t understand, the difference see the Belgium Gardeners for these 5 species.
- splendens Jacob. A remarkable plant because of the absence of the spines on young leaves I get the plant in my collection in 1876 from Cels in Paris
- univittata in Wochenschrift in the catalogue under nr.9 we find the name heteracantha.A variety by M.J.Verschaffelt bring in commerce. Looking like heteracantha if it is not a young A. splendens Jacob. See also nr.81
- ghiesbrechtii Lem & Ottonis Hort For sale by this name by M.J.V. I think it is A.heteracantha
- horrida Lem With dark green leaves; Looking like a big A.lophantha.
- grandidentata Hort Belg. With more blue leaves and the spikes like A. xylae.
- xylacantha Salm Introduction from M.bessener in 1868
- Kochii Jac. Earlier named amurensis by M.J.V. Gent
- kerckhovei Lem very nice plant
- This is the same
- applanata Lem also the same coming from M.Cels
- ?????????? Nice specie named in Overduin by M. de Generaal von Jacobi coming from the collection of Muilman in Baarn in 1870 described in the “Zweiter Nachtrag”von G.A.Jacobi blz.63
- ??????????? Coming from the collection of M.Demoulin in Mons.
- mitraeformis Hort. A species form with a majestic expression.
- atrovirens .A rare and unique example with broad yellow stripes on the outsides of the leaves, on the end of the leaves there are no spines. I bought this species it was two fist bic for 150 Franks. = salmiana varigata
- ????????? This is the real A.mill Haw. Most of the gardeners confuse this sort with plants that have variegated leaves.
- ?????????.Very nice plant. The leaves imprint within each other.
- ???????? From the collection of M.Bonnet Lyon.
- schlechtendallii Jac? I found the same species by M.van Jacobi . In Versailles in the restaurant Barbotte. In the pavilion from Henry the 4e. In St Germain and Laye by Paris. (there is good food in the restaurant) The description you can find in the Nachtrage Blz.26. The size is very big. Not common anymore in St Germain.
- atrovirens Karw. This species came from the collection of M.van der Vinne in Brussel, for sale and on view years ago. A big plant looking like an A. ferox koch.
- lehmanni Hort Very rare from the collection of M.Maigret in Mons. This is the only one I ever found never in France or England. In wintertime this plant needs good care, because the leaves are full with sap where the originals in Mexico make the Mescal. The leaves will rot very fast.
- coarctata 4 species from this nice form with lead-coloured leaves and winding spikes in the best condition.
- jacobiana? All these species are different forms of A. verschaffeltii from the big collection of M de Kerchove in Ousselghem.
- salmiana Otto. This species flowering two years ago in Overduin, today you see a crown with a lot of bulbillen. (small plants)
- ???????? No name this plant has come from the collection of Muihnan. It is a species between A.americana and A. salmiana.
- tehuacanensis. The same species flowering in 1872 in Overduin. The old 5meter tall spike you can see in my room.
- ?????????/ This group of plants with different coloured leaves all looking like each other but they have different names.
- ?????? This species from Leipzig named as A. karwinskii Zucc.But this is the wrong name. Me and Mr M von Jacobi have never seen such a plant, even in Kew or by M.Saunders, never in France Belgium or Berlin. We agree that this is a species that belongs to a new group, looking like a Bromeliad, no stalones. The plant has yellow/green leaves.
- Americana It is a mistake that these two species are placed in the group from A. subcoriaceae.This belongs more in group 2 from A. carnosae.
- millerii Haw.I received this plant in exchange from M. de Prof. Miquel from the botanical Gardens in Utrecht. The plant was in a bad condition. After two years the plant has now flowered and gave 200 seedlings. A lot are for sale. Look to the Nachtrage from Gen von Jacobi pag.33, 236a, 236b, 236c, 236d, 236e = ten species from A. horizontalis. Jacobi.
- Americana picta M.de Generaal von Jacobi looked at this plant many times and called it unique on page 36 from his “Nachtrage. We never find this plant with someone else.
- Ornate Jacob. Synonym on A.laetevirens marginata. I received this plant from M.J.Verschaffelt. He has the plant bought by Van der Vinne
- saundersii Hook. M.von Jacobi describe this plant in Overduin,see the last expenditure from the “Zweiter Nachtrag”.
- cyanea hort. Cyanophylla Jacob. A couple of nice plants.
- ??????? A very special plant with leaves with a completely different form from the other A. attenuate Hook.
- ellemeetiana Jacobi. It was in Paris that K.Koch and G.A. von Jacobi found this rare plant named to me. This species is rare because there are no stalones on it. But the species was flowered by W.Saunders in Reigate near to London. Hi have make an drawing in “Refagium botanicum”,London Vol.3 part 1.in September 1869 page 163. Except this plant I have found one in Berlin,and two in Utrecht also two in Belgium.
Now started the list with Beschorneria,s and Furcraea’s.
Many thanks to Ivana Richter Germany, Gottfried Gutte, Germany, Jos van Roosbroeck Belgium, Roy Mottram England, also the Dutch people Maarten van Thiel, Theo van t’Walderveen, Bertus Spee, Tonnie de Rijke, Stef van Dort and Albert Hofman the help my with this resource. And finally Doug and Doreen Donaldson who helped me with the translation from Dutch to English
Agave chiapensis In an old wooden pot from theWest Indians, with iron handles. pict.from the book of J.M..van den Houten 1927, vetplanten .
Agave ellemeetiana collection of Jos van Roosbroeck Belgium.Pict. Stef van Dort.
Alsemgeest, W. (2002) : Ervaringen met agaven in cultuur(2).Succulenta 81 (3),p.106.
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