Fine Art

Agave potatorum

Agave potatorum, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Asparagaceae
Subfamilia: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave
Species: Agave potatorum

Agave potatorum Zucc., 1832

Agave scolymus Karw. ex Salm-Dyck, Hort. Dyck.: 307 (1834).
Agave elegans Salm-Dyck, Bonplandia (Hannover) 7: 89 (1859).
Agave latifolia Karw. ex Salm-Dyck, Bonplandia (Hannover) 7: 89 (1859).
Agave pulchra Salm-Dyck, Bonplandia (Hannover) 7: 89 (1859).
Agave quadrata Lem., Ill. Hort. 11(Misc.): 65 (1864).
Agave amoena Lem. ex Jacobi, Hamburger Garten- Blumenzeitung 21: 120 (1865).
Agave saundersii Hook.f., Bot. Mag. 91: t. 5493 (1865).
Agave schnittspahnii Jacobi, Hamburger Garten- Blumenzeitung 21: 120 (1865).
Agave verschaffeltii Lem. ex Jacobi, Hamburger Garten- Blumenzeitung 21: 122 (1865).
Agave auricantha Baker, Gard. Chron., n.s., 8: 40 (1877).
Agave scolymus var. polymorpha A.Terracc., Prim. Contr. Monogr. Agave: 38 (1885).
Agave potatorum var. verschaffeltii (Lem. ex Jacobi) A.Berger, Agaven: 186 (1915)

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico
Mexico (S. Puebla to WC. Veracruz and C. Oaxaca)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Zuccarini, J.G., 1832. Flora 15(2 Beibl.): 96


Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Agave potatorum in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 05. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Agave potatorum. Published online. Accessed: Jan. 05 2019.
The Plant List 2013. Agave potatorum in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 05. 2019. Agave potatorum. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 05.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agave potatorum in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Vernacular names

Agave potatorum, the Verschaffelt agave, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. A smallish and attractive succulent perennial, it is native to partial desert areas of Mexico from Puebla south to Oaxaca.

The Latin specific epithet potatorum refers to drinking and brewing.[4] In its range, it is used extensively to make mezcal, and for this reason, it is considered to be a threatened species.[1]

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[5]

Agave potatorum grows as a basal rosette of between 30 and 80 flat spatulate leaves of up to 1 foot in length and edge fringe of short, sharp, dark spines and ending in a needle of up to 1.6 inches long. The leaves are pale, silvery white, with the flesh coloured green fading lilac to pink at the tips. The flower spike can be 10–20 feet long when fully developed and bears pale green and yellow flowers.

García-Mendoza, A.J.; Sandoval-Gutiérrez, D.; Torres-García, I.; Casas, A. (2019). "Agave potatorum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
"Agave potatorum Zucc". International Plant Names Index. 22 October 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
"The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.

"Agave potatorum (Verschaffelt agave)". Royal Horticultural Society. 1994. Retrieved 5 January 2018.

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