Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/12

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8
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
 

PSM V78 D012 In the Pajarito mountains.png

Fig. 6. In the Pajarito Mountains.

 

Mr. J. C. Blumer collected it in the same region; and this season when Mr. James H. Ferriss found it in the Guija Mountains. The little plant here illustrated is the one sent in by Mr. Blumer, which in transit had begun to develop a flower stem and which, flowering in May of last year and fruiting in the following summer, has given the first opportunity for a botanist to observe these phenomena and to see in perfection its diminutive flowers which, scarcely three quarters of an inch long, led its describer, Dr. Torrey, to name it Agave parviflora.

Like those of many agaves and yuccas and some other genera the solid stem and thick leaf bases of this plant contain a saponifying substance which has won for it, as for these various plants, the name amole, or soap-weed. Its thick, rounded leaves, like those of a comparatively few other species in the genus are beautifully marked by irregular stripes of pure white, due to bits of cuticle torn from other leaves as the central bud or cogollo opened. When Dr. Engelmann