Austin Native Landscaping Blog

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Extensive Agave Plant Profile.

We want to continue and enhance our directory of Texas Native plants that are suitable for drought tolerant landscaping and Xeriscaping in Austin. We are slowly going to expand on the existing plants in our database with more in depth information and lore. Here is a snap shot. You can read the entire thing under Century Plant’s plant profile.

 

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“One of the most distinctive and beautiful plants for the native gardener looking to expand their collection is the American Agave, Century Plant, or Maguey as it is called in Mexico. Famous for its massive vertical flower measuring upwards of 30 feet in height, the bloom can be unpredictable in its timing but when it occurs the sight is unforgettable. These towering flowers called inflorescences form a picturesque part of the landscape and offer a great resource for bees, butterflies, and small birds looking for nectar, as well as humans seeking an impressive addition to the native garden.

The rugged beauty of the flower and ease of care for which the plant is celebrated by landscapers are perhaps only overshadowed by the rich anthropologic history of the agavesin the Americas. American Agave has been utilized as a cornerstone resource by indigenous peoples from its point of origin in the highlands of Mexico to the deserts and unforgiving terrain of Arizona and south Texas for millennia. It’s use is limited only by human’s creativity, and agave species have been known to be employed in a number of ways includingthe production of alcoholic beverages, as a food source, a natural sweetener, medicine, sewing needles, fibers, forage for livestock, and as a defense against pests. Because of this unparalleled importance as a resource,these species have attained an important position in many parts of Mexican culture.Indeed, the Aztec and other central Mexican peoples were known to worship a fertility deity named Mayahuel who was often closely depicted with agave. In historic times, both Anglo-European and Hispanicsettlers throughout the region soon learned to depend on the numerous species ofagave as a reliable source of cattle forage, but perhaps more famously as the source for tequila. With a seemingly endless supply of uses for every part of the plant,to this day it remains utilized by modern peoplesin the same manner as our ancestors.”

We are very lucky to have found Tom and look forward to more essays about the various plants we use in our practice.

Tom Montgomery is a native gardening enthusiast and plant ecologist from Austin. His enthusiasm and appreciation for all things botanical comes from years of experience ranging from landscaping and nursery care to plant physiology research and field ecology vegetation surveys. While not working in the field or lab, he enjoys mushroom hunting in the greenbelt, photography, home brewing and sharpening his Spanish language skills. For questions, comments, or feedback please write to tm1265@txstate.edu.

 

 

 

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