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 Forget swine flu, these Mexicans are more interesting... 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Post Forget swine flu, these Mexicans are more interesting...
A very few shots from my fourth adventure in Mexico, undertaken this last January with my ever suffering girlfriend Ames. I dragged her up hill and down dale for approx 4000 miles until she was sick of it...and then we did some more :D . She had one day on the beach, which was, I thought, frankly, a bit selfish...

We checked out Agave ovatifolia up in the NE. A relatively recently described species, it lives in the most wonderful, virtually inaccessible, privately owned mountain range. As ever, plants were variable, with the best being utterly gorgeous.
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These were some of the most magnificent A. gentryi I have ever seen. The inflorescence shaft is just appallingly wide. I've seen slightly bigger plants, especially in cultivation, but never have I seen such a shaft! Ooh err.
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This next surely must be the highest altitude Agave in the world. Never have I seen or heard or an Agave reaching 3500m alt. Here's A. gentryi on Cerro Potosi.
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Not a bad A. gentryi variegate. Could sell well in B&Q...
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A hybrid which seemed to be A. gentryi x A. lechuguilla. Note the mix of inflorescence types (ie branched and non-branched).

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Pinus hartwegii at 3700m on Cerro Potosi.
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The very rare dwarf Pinus culminicola at 3700m on Cerro Potosi. This was only known from this mountain summit until it was found on a couple of others in the area. Fire has reaked havoc in the recent past...
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A valley in Nuevo Leon with a drift of Mexican swamp cypress, Taxodium mucronatum, in autumn colour, following the river. The other deciduous trees are Pecan groves, Carya illinoensis.
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These are the most wonderful plants of the species I have come across in Mexico. We found these in Durango.
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We noticed that Yucca carnerosana from a certain area has very fine, tightly curled filifers. Quite different from the thick, lightly curled filifers found elsewhere.
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Yucca rigida is very much a plant of the Chihuahuan desert.
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We took the opportunity to visit the newly described A. chazaroi in habitat. It is only known from these cliffs in Jalisco.
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Yucca linearifolia it its blue form. I saw very green plants too in a different area.
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Agave vazquez-garciae, another recently described species. Close to A. attenuata, but with upright inflorescences and small dark teeth to the edges of the leaves. The rosette also has a rather different look to it. To get to these we had to pass a couple of rotting horses. Nice.
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The ubiquitous Ipomaea arborea makes a small tree.
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Agave pedunculifera, botanically very close to A. attenuata, grows vertically on cliffs and looks a beauty, especially when seen by the hundred.
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We stumbled across this previously unrecorded, most northerly population of the magnificent Pinus devoniana up in Durango. A marvellous foliage plant. Note the arm...
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The high altitude, old logging town of El Salto, Durango
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Pinus lumholtzii, the most weeping of all pines. I love it.
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Agave geminiflora at the type locality in Nayarit. These were far larger than I expected, with the biggest plants up to 1.8m across and 1.2 m tall! Not easy to photograph however, with very contrasty midday sun and shade...
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Yet another recently described species, and frankly not too different from Agave striata, is A. rzedowskiana. Here it is in Jalisco at a most lovely location. Note plant at left on cliff.
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These are the best marked A. schidigera you will find anywhere; so superior to anything I have seen in the wild or in cultivation.
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The beautiful Agave guadalajarana (how many a's can you fit in a word??)
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Most planted Agave tequilana is blue, but rarely you will find a field or two with green plants (note the odd blue one for contrast)
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Salvia gesneriiflora. This is a dark calyx form. These roadside 'weeds' were about 2.5 to 3m high.
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Agave mapisaga is an elegant giant. A massive plant and one of the largest of all Agave, the biggest one in this planting in Michoacan was 3m high. It's closely related to A. salmiana.
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Agave marmorata in a friends garden in Guadalajara.
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The mariposa monarca were not flying the day we went to see them due to cool conditions. I've seen them flying before so it was just as amazing to see them crowded by the hundred thousand, motionless on the branches and trunks of Abies religiosa.
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And to finish..... We went to investigate this thing. I had heard it might be A. ovatifolia, but it was a fair bit south of where that is found and it doesn't quite fit the bill visually. It is most likely a geographic variant, but who knows. More investigation necessary.
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That's our cabin in the distance. Not a bad spot for the night.
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Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:38 am
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Oh, excuse me. I forgot to inlclude the highlight of the whole trip (though I have posted shots of this on UKOasis recently). We went to find the very recently described Agave albopilosa and succeeded. The location is kept completely secret by the very few people who know about them, but with my Sherlock Holmes hat firmly pulled over my eyes we stumbled into them. An absolute gem of an Agave with a completely unique feature; fluffy leaf tips.
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Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:55 am
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Absolutely fantastic photos! The large flower stalks look prehistoric.

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:44 am
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Truly awesome!! The plants, the habitats & the photos...a real tour de force! Those inflorescences are so impressive...and the plants, especially A. schidigera & A. albopilosa, are absolutely beautiful! Did you collect seed of many sp.? The pines are wonderful too - I guess some of the Pinus hartwegii there must be pretty ancient? A friend gave me a Salvia gesneriflora the other day, but it's only 40cm...some way to go yet!

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:05 am
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These pine trees (P. devoniana & P. lumholtzii) are spectacular to a degree that is mind-boggling. Unreal.

Magnificent photos overall.


Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:07 am

Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:45 pm
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Nick, those photos are quite stunning. I'm going to have to come back and look at these again as there is so much to take in.

I've not heard of half of those Agaves you mention and Ovatifolia is drop dead stunning. Who needs to sit on a beach when there is plant exploring to be done!

The best sequence of plant hunting photos we've seen in ages.

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:14 am
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Maravilloso

What a nice start on a rainy Sunday morning

Thanks Nick

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:19 am
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Nick- these photos are amazing! Thank you for sharing them!

So many beautiful plants.

How long were you out there for?

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:35 am
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Absolutely fabulous Nick thanks for taking a great deal of time to post them all I am sure its much appreciated by all the guys here on GOTE.
These picture post are what make this forum so enjoyable to read and I thought I had some nice shots in my armoury but yours have totally surpassed anything I have taken.

The inflorescence shafts on the Agave gentryi are unbelievable and with that back drop and yourself for scale the shot is just spot on.
The tree roots were amazing too what a vast system all sneaking down to the river.

I noticed you mentioned "We noticed that Yucca carnerosana from a certain area has very fine tightly curled filifers." had you still got Ames on board then and she was not dreaming of sand and sea or should it have read "I noticed"
Do'nt tell me you were counting seeds on the beach day. :D

Surprisingly enjoyed viewing your Pinus shots too I think since seeing Pinus patula in Madeira awhile back, which seemed to have the longest weeping habit that we have ever seen also from mexico I think, seems to have opened my eyes to these trees.

The markings on the Agave schidigera were amazing too I suppose that is down to the bright hot sunshine then.

Many Thanks again for posting. :D

BTW Did you get many punctures driving those tracks then and how many spare tyres do the locals normally carry........or is it horses?


Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:55 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:41 pm
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thanks for the great pictures, nick.

nick, do you remember where those A. geminiflora are or where else to find them?. had tried to no avail finding them each time I´m near tepic/xalisco. will be in the area in a couple weeks and would like to finally finding them.

leo.


Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:50 am
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Glad you all approve :D

Chris - I did notice some seed was falling on barren ground here and there. Yes, I have no doubt that those Pinus hartwegii at that alt' must be very old.

Owen - We had three weeks, though could have stayed all winter, or perhaps for the rest of my life...

Kev - Errr...yes, it was actually me that jammed on the brakes for the zillionth time for that Yucca shot. Saying that, after some training, it was actually Ames that spied the first Agave albopilosa. What an honor to have under her belt.

Pines are often magnificent things; welcome to the fold! The gorgeous P. patula is seen by the million in certain parts of Mexico, but P. lumholtzii is the most extreme weeper.

The markings on those Agave schidigera are down to pure genetics, not sun. I've seen great variation in the species out there.

Yup, 4 punctures, but that's not so bad considering we must have covered about 1000 miles of dirt roads.

Leo - I'm going to PM you.

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:37 am
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Please excuse me while I wipe the saliva off my keyboard. Nothing beats seeing plants in habitat, and what plants! If my little ovatifolia seedlings (from RPS seed) grow up to look like those, I will be a very happy man. They are beginning to look like they might be the real thing. I also have a few pedunculifera, it would be great if they succeed here. Glad you got out before the outbreak!


Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:57 pm
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It's not often you'll find me speechless but nghnghnghnghgnghgnfh


Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:12 pm
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Its a real gift to see those plants,that I see here in gardens, back in the old country. The plant on rock seperates nature from the gardener.
Just to give you an idea of how truly the bay area mirrors highland Mexico,not more than ten minutes from my home is a Eucalyptis grove that is a winter home for Monarch butterflys.
Great post-and nice to see Mexico still has much natural habitat left.


Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:15 pm
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In one word WAUW! Very beautifull pictures.....the agaves are great! Thanks

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:51 pm
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