Agave parryi neomexicana

New Mexico Agave - Agave parryi neomexicana
East of Hillsboro, NM, USA
June 12, 2016

Jim Laupan recently discovered a colony of Parry’s Agave, Agave parryi, east of Hillsboro.  All of the plants were small, the rosettes are no more than 3 inches across.  Although there are more than three score on the crest of a small knoll they would be difficult to find if you did not know they were there, and how Jim found them I do not know, but am envious of the skill.

Now for the interesting part.  Are these plants Agave parryi neomexicana or are they Agave parryi parryi?  Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness lists only var. parryi for this area.  In general, var. neomexicana is restricted to the counties in Texas and the southeastern counties of New Mexico as well as in the state of Coahuila, Mexico.  It is quite possible that these plants represent a range extension of the subspecies A. p. neomexicana.  Currently, some authorities believe the species has only these two subspecies, with each subspecies having varieties.

A. p. neomexicana was first described by Wooton & Standl. and has been considered a full species (A. neomexicana) at times and a variety (A. p. var. neomexicana) at times.  Its range is not known to extend this far west.  The species plant is known as Parry’s Agave and the subspecies (A. p. n.) is known as New Mexico Agave and New Mexico Century Plant.  It is a small agave (the rosette being about a foot tall and two feet across at maturity).

The leaves are more narrow in neomexicana than in parryi, lending some support to the idea that this is in fact A. p. neomexicana and it is listed as such here.  See also Mulfords “The Agaves of the United States".

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