The various forms of  Agave parryi – part 5

Wim Alsemgeest and Jos van Roosbroeck.

A closer look at:  A. chihuahuana

Pict.1 A. chihuahuana Collection J.v.R.

Agave chihuahuana was described in 1911(publ. 1912) by Trelease  in Rep. (Annual) Missouri Bot. Gard. 22: 90;  the article was accompanied by 4 pictures (.here 2)
Initially A. chihuahuana was distributed under the name of A. wislizeni Engelm.
In Breitung's book A. wislizeni and also A. chihuahuana are placed with A. scabra.
To understand these agaves properly we need to look to Trelease and Berger. Both authors are agreed that A. chihuahuana and A. parrasana are closely related to each other.  Both agaves have stiff leaves.  The leaves of A.parrasana are not as thick as those of A. chihuahuana and the end spine is less prominent.  Another striking feature of A. chihuahuana is that the outer surface of the leaves is not smooth but has indentations. The margins of the leaves are also different, those from A. parrasana being undulate as opposed to the straighter margins of A.chihuahuana .
Of all the forms of A. parryi,  A. chihuahuana has the least number of leaves in the rosette.

In 1886 Pringle made the first mention of a special agave growing near the city of Chihuahua.  In 1906 Endlicher noted that these agaves were also growing further south west of the city. In 1908 Rose mentioned two sites south west of Chihuahua, namely Cusihuiriachic near Cuachtemoc and  Santa Eulalia. The picture ( plate 82 )  in Trelease’s  book “ Rep.(annual) Missouri Bot.Gard 1911 Vol.22 “ shows  one of these plants.

 Palmer also made mention of Santa Eulalia as a site where these plants could be found.
 We also have some pictures of agaves from that part of Mexico.  They were taken by Bertus Spee close to El Pina, near Lopez Mateos, and also further north in Mexico, in the neighborhood of the city of Chihuahua, near Buenaventura.  Most of these agaves belong to the “normal” forms of A.parryi (Wim by Tepehuanes Dur.). Bertus found only one different form in the vicinity of Villa Matamoros, plants with fewer leaves.  Possibly this is the true A. chihuahuana

The throe Agave chihuahuana? Villa Matamoros Chih.

In Wim Alsemgeest’s collection there is an agave in cultivation with the label “From Sante  Eulalia” . This plant is also one with fewer leaves (see picture).  Jos van Roosbroeck’s collection contains a plant which comes from the Santa Clara canyon and also has fewer leaves. (picture 1)
This leads us to the conclusion that   A. chihuahuana is possibly only a specific group of plants with fewer leaves.
Gentry informs us that in the high mountains of the state  Chihuahua one can find forms of A.parryi with very small and open rosettes.  He quotes Buenaventura en Colonia Garcia as a specific site. These plants are distributed under the name A. parryi var. huachucensis compacta.
To clarify the situation it is necessary to do more fieldwork in the vicinity of this city.

To by continued later

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