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American Gardener"A useful and authoritative new reference."—William May, American Gardener, January/February 2001
— William May
The authors point out that innovative nurseries and gardeners in cool, humid regions of North America and Europe have shown that many of these plants may be suitable for areas...
The authors point out that innovative nurseries and gardeners in cool, humid regions of North America and Europe have shown that many of these plants may be suitable for areas with climates very different from their native range. Full information on cultivation and propagation is provided.
Agaves, in general, have large leaves arranged in a spiral along a small, often visible, stem to form a rosette. Rosettes are a common adaptation to desert or arid conditions. This growth form allows water to be directed down the leaves, like a channel, to the root zone. During times of serious drought, the small stem of an agave will shrink, allowing a tiny fissure in the soil around the plant base, further increasing the utility of the rosetts form in channeling water when it does rain. Rosettes are common in many genera from arid regions including all other members of the families Agavaceae and Nolinaceae, and genera from other families such as Aloe, Haworthia, and Gasteria, to name a few.
The leaves of Agave usually are hard or somewhat rigid and very fibrous inside. Many have prominent sharp marginal teeth, and almost all leaves have a rigid and very sharp terminal spine. A rosette may have fewer than 20 leaves or as many as 200, depending on the species. The leaves are thick and succulent, with specialized cells for water storage. Most leaves are coated with a fine to heavy wax cuticle. This cuticle is an adaptation to prevent excessive water loss through the leaves, retaining as much water within the leaf as possible to endure long periods of drought.
CHAPTER 1 History of the Families, 13
CHAPTER 2 Description of the Genera, 25
CHAPTER 3 Horticulture and Cultivation, 49
Ornamental History, 49
Economic and Ornamental Distribution, 55
Frost Protection, 75
Seed Propagation, 81
Vegetative Propagation, 83
Pest, Disease, and Cultural Problems, 88
CHAPTER 4 Species Profiles, 93
Key to Agave, 227
Key to Yucca, 283
Plants Suitable for Humid Gardens, 85
Map of Mexico and Adjacent Areas, 288
Color plates follow pages 144 and 208