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Accepted Scientific Name: Agave attenuata Salm-Dyck
Hort. Dyck. (1834) 303.
(Variegated Fox Tail Agave) This beautiful form is one of the much sought after and highly prized agave by collectors, but it is expensive. It is very hard to propagate, and it almost never have pups, the little offsets that grow at the base of the plant.
Agave attenuata Salm-Dyck
Hort. Dyck. (1834) 303.
- Agave attenuata Salm-Dyck
- Ghiesbreghtia mollis Roezl
- Agave attenuata var. compacta Jacobi
- Agave attenuata var. latifolia Salm-Dyck ex A.Terracc.
- Agave attenuata var. paucibracteata Trel.
- Agave attenuata var. subdentata Cels ex Carrière
- Agave attenuata var. subundulata Jacobi
- Agave attenuata f. variegata hort.
- Agave cernua A.Berger
- Agave compacta hort. ex Besaucèle
- Agave debaryana Jacobi
- Agave elliptica hort. ex Besaucèle
- Agave glaucescens Hook.
- Agave kellocki Jacobi
- Agave pruinosa Lem. ex Jacobi
- Agave spectabilis hort. ex Besaucèle
- Agave virens hort. ex Besaucèle
Agave attenuata subs. dentata B.Ullrich
Haseltonia 12: 27. 2007 [16 Jan 2007] nom. inval.
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Agave attenuata var. serrulata A.Terracc. in A.Terracc.
Prim. Contr. Monogr. Agave 21, t. IV. 1885
- Agave attenuata var. serrulata A.Terracc. in A.Terracc.
- Agave cernua var. serrulata A.Berger in A.Berger
ENGLISH: Variegated Fox Tail Agave, Variegated Lion's Tail, Variegated Swan's Neck, Variegated Elephant’s trunk, Variegated Spineless Century Plant, Variegated Gooseneck Succulent, Variegated Soft Leaved Agave
Description: The variegated Fox Tail Agave, Agave attenuata f. variegata (a.k.a. 'mediopicta aurea') is a wimpy, but striking and very pricey plant, it is basically same as regular Agave attenuata except for the broad, soft, pale blue-green leaves that are marked with contrasting creamy yellow stripes. This cultivar tends to be slower to offset and doesn't seem to grow as fast or get as large. It is thought that it can takes a lot of sun for a variegated plant but a filtered sun spot is surer. The degree of variegation varies considerably from plant to plant, some are almost completely green with only few thin cream stripes while - on the other extreme - we can found almost completely white ones. The whiter leaved are the more admired and pricey, but also the slower and difficult to grow, especially the very white ones. It makes for a handsome potted plant, especially when highlighted with dark foliage plants such as Black Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum cv. Schwarzkopf (Zwartkop). If planted in the ground it will likely form a clump to 90 to 120 cm or more tall by even wider with many rosettes of leaves. Fear not this plant as it has no spines unlike its prickly cousins.
Stems: Stout curving , often branched, smooth grey stems that rise up to 100 cm tall (unusual among agaves) and eventually old leaves fall off, leaving them naked and visible.
Leaves: Wide, soft, pliable, somewhat translucent ovate-accuminate, 50-70 cm long and 12-16 cm large. The leaves are powdery green, light yellowish green or grey/blue green.There are no teeth, nor terminal spines, although the leaves taper to points that fray with age. They emerge from a tight central spear to arch gracefully back, looking a bit like a large open green flower.
Flowers: Flowers are pale greenish yellow on a dense raceme 1,5-3,5 long . Over many months the vertical flower stalk develops, first as a mass of green buds which open from the bottom up into flowers of greenish-yellow, then it reflexes back towards the ground before arching upward again. The flowers are followed by seed pods and from the axils of the flowers many new 'plantlets' (or bulbils) will sprout, meanwhile the mother rosette slowly dies. But sometime - unlike other members of it's family - this plant doesn't die after flowering.
Blooming Time: Spring. It may take up to 10 years to bloom.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Agave attenuata group
- Agave attenuata Salm-Dyck: Produces smooth curving trunks with wide, powdery green, soft, pliable, harmless leaves.
- Agave attenuata f. variegata hort.: (a.k.a. 'mediopicta aurea') the leaves are marked with contrasting creamy yellow stripes that varies considerably from plant to plant, some are almost completely green with only few thin cream stripes while - on the other extreme - we can found almost completely white ones.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) San Marcos Growers contributors Agave attenuata 'Variegata' - Variegated Fox Tail Agave San Marcos Growers <http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?strSearchText=agave&plant_id=3479&page=>. Web. 10 June 2016.
The cv. mediopicta can be distinguished by the green leaf borders and variegation in the centre. Photo by: Matteo Faggion
This cultivars is distinguishes for having extremely variable degrees of variegation. Photo by: Cactus Art
Agave attenuata f. variegata Photo by: Cactus Art
This is the yellow variegated form of Agave attenuata. Photo by: Cactus Art
Agave attenuata 'mediopicta' (It can be distinguished by the green leaf borders and variegation in the centre) Photo by: Matteo Faggion
The wide pale green pliable leaves have yellow stripes that are different from leaf to leaf. Photo by: Flavio Agrosi
Cultivation and Propagation: Agave attenuata is an excellent plant which works well with other succulents or even tropical plant material. It is well suited for a container inside or a sheltered warm spot outdoors. It is a frost tender plant and it will usually be severely damaged in temperatures below -2° C. Although Agave attenuata survives in poor soils and can tolerate full coastal sun to to full shade, it does best in rich but well-drained soil mix ( 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part of pumice) with half sun exposures. The plant is extremely drought tolerant but does better with ample moisture and grows quickly if kept well watered and nourished (Slow release fertilizer applied once or twice a year is usually sufficient). During the winter months, one should only water enough to keep the leaves from shrivelling. Plants cultivated outdoors are more drought tolerant and can take some heat and full sun. It tolerates seaside conditions too. Protect from snails which can also disfigure the plant.
Offsets or 'pups' can be removed to maintain the strong architectural lines of the Agave and provide great additional plants, or left to form a clump.
Propagation: By seeds or by removing suckers produced at the base of older plants or using the thousands of small bulbils produced on its' entire flower stalk length. Seeds germinate readily when they are fresh. The basal suckers can be removed in spring or summer, letting the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost.
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