|Neutral ||htop ||On Feb 22, 2009, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have not grown this plant. Longflower tuberose (Manfreda longiflora, synonym of Agave longiflora) is an endemic Texas native plant which can be found in Hidalgo and Starr Counties (some sites list Caldwell and Cameron Counties also and an unconfirmed siting in Hogg County) as well as northern Tamaulipas, Mexico. The plant thrives on thornshrub lands on terraces, slopes and hills in loams and clays that are composed of various amounts of salt, sand, gravel and caliche. It is also commonly known as St. Joseph's staff, Runyon's huaco and amole de rio. Manfreda longiflora has been used to treat snakebite ("huaco"). The word "huaco" refers to the huaco bird which was able to cure itself after a snakebite. The word "amole" refers to the plant's trhizomes being pounded and used as a substitute for soap.
(The information below is from Rare Plants of Texas: A Field Guide. Jackie M. Poole, William R. Carr, Dana M. Price and Jason R. Singhurst. Texas A&M University Press: November, 2007, pp. 304-305).
A rhizomatous perennial, it has a basal rosette form with green or purplish, lanceolate to linear, folded in the middle, 10 to 26.5 cm long by .5 to 2 cm wide leaves that have darker green, purplish or brown spots. Widely spaced, coarse teeth line the leaf margins. The erect, 30 to 50 cm long (longer in cultivation) flower spike produces 10 to 21 tubular-funnelform, 2.3 to 3.6 cm long by 1.5 to 3 mm wide, white fading to pink or brick red blooms. The blooms have 6 stamen. The blooms are followed by globose seed capsules that are 9 to 10 mm long and with diameter of10 to 13 mm. which contain flattened black seeds.
Manfreda longiflora can be easily differientiated from other SouthTexas Manfreda species only when in bloom. Manfreda longiflora blooms have styles and filaments within the tube; whereas, the other South Texas Manfreda species' blooms have exserted styles and filaments. It also blooms at a later date (September through October). In very dry conditions, the rosettes become a purplish color and the leaves become limp causing them to fall to the ground.
Manfreda longiflora is a larval host for the rare Manfreda giant skipper butterfly.
Information from other sources:
This plant does best in full sun; however, it can grow in part or filtered shade. The blooms are somewhat waxy, fragrant and nocturnal. The blooms may also be pink fading to a purplish color. Manfreda longiflora is best suited to grow in Zones 9b to 11. The leaf margins are coarsely denticulate.
There were only 4 known populations of Manfreda longiflora (60 plants - none seedlings nor juveniles) in the USA In 1990 and it is a is Fully Sponsored endangered (State Rank 2 - Imperiled, Global Rank 2 - Imperiled) plant. The primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is the San Antonio Botanical Garden. (Information from The Center for Plant Conservation website)