Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/214

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210
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Elsewhere about the same city, in company with a full dozen other distinguishable agaves, is an abundance of the beautiful little white leaved plant, now popular in gardens, which was named PSM V70 D214 Agave picta.pngFig 2. Agave Picta. A. Verschaffeltii after its importer, some forty years ago.

Even in Mexico it is the planted rather than the wild agaves that attract attention. Hedgerows or dooryard specimens of them are found everywhere, and in the region to the south of the City of Mexico there are many miles of territory seemingly devoted entirely to their cultivation. Phalanx after phalanx of them stretches away to the horizon as the train speeds through, with hardly a sign of other vegetation except for a cottonwood or pepper tree now and then where water happens to occur, or a cypress marking the resting place of the dead. Through this district, centering about the little town of Apam, it is almost exclusively the dark green giant, A. atrovirens, which is grown, though, as with extensively cultivated plants PSM V70 D214 Dooryard specimens.pngFig. 3. Dockyard Specimens. elsewhere, in numerous horticultural varieties which look much alike to the botanist but are distinguished by the planter. Over thirty such forms are said to be planted in the plains of Apam. In the immediate suburbs of the capital city, about Tacubaya, and locally elsewhere in this central district, other forms, differing even to the unspecialized eye, are similarly grown in quantity. As one passes to the colder regions of the north or descends from the table-land into the hot country, still other and different looking species of the same type replace A. atrovirens, which, however, far outnumbers and surpasses them all in its aggregate farm importance. These plantations