Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Plant Profile: Agave potatorum "Cameron's Blue"

Latin name: Agave potatorum "Cameron Blue" ("ah-GAH-vay pot-ah-TOR-um")
Common name: "Cameron Blue" agave, Butterfly Agave
Originally from: Puebla and Oaxaca
Blooms: A 10-20' tall spike with yellow flowers happens once in the plant's lifetime.
Light: Full sun.
Water: Winter rain is enough.
Height x width: 18" x 18"
Zones: 8-11
Where to find in P. Garden: Three at the top of PG

A small to medium sized solitary agave (no pups, boo hoo) from the semi-arid highlands between 4,000 and 7,000 feet of Puebla and Oaxaca, with wide broad gray leaves that form in a lovely symmetrical rosette to 1 to 2 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide. The leaves have chestnut brown spines and a wavy 1" long terminal spine.

This cute little agave was appreciated by the Nahuatl Indians who called it "papalometl" meaning "Butterfly Agave", and it's now also known as maguey Tobalá locally, but the species name "potatorum" comes from the Latin word "potator"' meaning "of the drinkers" because the plant was used to make alcoholic drinks (mezcal brand Los Nahuales uses a. potatorum for example.) 

Like all (or most) agaves, this one wants full sun very little water - surprise! A great choice for water wise gardens. Plant a nice swath of these little spiky things.

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