Some perspective. The agaves are growing on a hillside next to a much larger flat area that has been cleared for agriculture/livestock. First shot shows the border where the two areas meet. A big messy pitaya (Stenocereus gummosus) in the second picture, and a look up the hill in the third.
A few flower oddities here. First shot shows an axial bloom (?secondary to an event like the ones above). Not sure exactly what happened with the other two plants but they definitely don't look normal.
Yes, they are tough plants. Our dog leaped over a clump of agaves while we were out there climbing around... don't think she even looked to see that there was a landing zone on the other side. Imagine coming down belly first on the crown of an agave. Yikes!
Yup. Especially right now... hasn't rained since April. Punta Colonet gets about 6-8 inches of rain a year, mostly during winter. Most years are probably a bust for agave seedlings. They have to go months without water their first summer, pretty much guaranteed. It's a harsh environment, so it selects for survivors.
Mexico looks a bit like the Scottish highlands which I live near. The highlands have a similar barren look but its due to wind exposure and often extreme soil acidity (peat bog conditions) Moss thrives and heather but little else. Sort of a case of totally different conditions producing similar looking landscapes.
Indeed. There are plenty of boulder-strewn hills with low scrubby vegetation around here. Every so often it all catches on fire and then the color pattern changes from grey on brown to grey on black. I remember being shocked by that when I first moved here.
Speaking of wind, that place with the agaves is incredibly windy. We were told that's the case most of the time. It's not so fun going for a walk on the beach when you end up getting sandblasted...
Another thing the experience made me appreciate is how terribly pampered the succulents in my garden are. It's time I stopped watering more of them. They can obviously handle it. This one has been in the ground 3 years and has been getting water monthly.
I'm all for growing plants from offsets, but when they come from seed, one can appreciate all sorts of interesting differences between individuals. Agave shawii is pretty variable, both within and among populations. The two shawiis in the garden here (=siblings) are similar in most respects, but only one has a solid margin around the edges of the leaves (red/purple fading to grey).