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Products > Furcraea bedinghausii
 
Furcraea bedinghausii
   
Image of Furcraea bedinghausii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [F. parmentieri, F. roezlii, F. longaeva, Hort.]
Height: 12-16 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Furcraea bedinghausii - A large succulent plant from southern Mexico with long blue-green leaves at the top of an 4 to 12 foot tall trunk (that tallest we have seen at around 30 feet). The rigid-looking yet flexible 3 to 4 foot long bluish-green leaves are at first erect then droop down and finally remain hanging on the trunk as a skirt but are sometimes skinned up to be bare. When the plant reaches maturity green flowers bloom on branched flower stalks that can reach to 25 feet above the foliage, but are usually 12 to 15 feet. This plant is monocarpic and declines after flowering, which may happen as young as 15 years old or 3 times this age, but after the flowers fade, hundreds to thousands of new plant bulbils are formed in the inflorescence. Usually this flowering occurs once the plant has a sizeable trunk but we have noted flowering on younger plants that have not developed a trunk. It performs best in full sun (coastal) to part sun or light shade and requires little irrigation and is hardy to at least short duration temperatures down to 25° F - it was not damaged in the 3 nights down to this temperature in our January 2007 freeze. This plant is very attractive and when big becomes a sculptural element in the garden. With its soft pliable leaves it is also a much friendlier succulent than many similar looking Agave and Yucca plants. It is endemic to the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in areas surrounding the valley of Mexico City and in the surrounding states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos and possibly Veracruz. It is considered to be a threatened species and studies on population genetic diversity indicate that it is likely reproduced by the bulbils in natures as opposed to from seeds. Since many sources listed Furcraea roezlii as a synonym with Furcraea bedinghausii, we opted to continue listing this plant for many years as Furcraea roezlii as it was the name that we originally received this plant as in the early 1980's from Ganna Walska Lotusland Botanic Garden, but in 2012 we switched to using the name Furcraea bedinghausii. In Peter Riedel's (1873-1954) Plants for Extra-Tropical Regions (published in 1957 after his death) Riedel credits the introduction of this plant into cultivation to Dr. Franceschi but also noted that in Franceschi's survey of plants being grown in Santa Barbara when he arrived in 1895, that there were "a good many old specimens [of Furcraea bedinghausii] to be found in Santa Barbara and its environs". In Mary and Gary Irish's book "Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants" Furcraea roezlii is described and said to differ from Furcraea bedinghausii because the latter has shorter leaves and a shorter trunk. William Trelease in his treatment of Furcraea in Stanley's 1920 Trees & Shrubs of Mexico maintained that Furcraea roezlii was distinct from F. bedinghausii, with more flared petals and longer (up to 2 meters) concave leaves that were often recurved. Joachim Thiede in his treatment in the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons combines the two and further notes that Agave author Bernd Ullrich has suggested that Furcraea bedinghausii may be a subspecies of the closely related Furcraea longaeva (Ullrich B. 1991. El complejo Furcraea longaeva II. Cactáceas y suculentas mexicanas. Tomo XXXVI. No. 3. pp. 56-61). We have also seen that several nurseries growing what appears to be the same plant are using the name Furcraea longaeva. According to Abisaí J. García-Mendoza in his revision of the genus (García-Mendoza, A. (2000). Revisión taxonómica de las especies arborescentes de Furcraea (Agavaceae) en México y Guatemala. Boletín de la Sociedad Botánica de México 66: 113–129.) the names Furcraea roezlii and Furcraea bedinghausii are synonymous with Furcraea parmentieri, noting that Furcraea parmentieri should be the correct name for this taxa as it was first described as Yucca parmentieri by Roezl in 1859 and later as Beschorneria parmentieri by General Georg Albano von Jacobi (1805–1874), a Prussian military officer, author and botanist. A primary difference noted between Furcraea parmentieri and Furcrea longaeva, a Oaxacan species that is not thought to actually be in cultivation in the US, is that the former has glaucus foliage and produces bulbils in the inflorescence, while Furcraea longaeva has darker green foliage and does not produce bulbils. The name Furcraea was given to this genus in 1793 by the French botanist Etienne Pierre Ventenat (1757–1808) to honor French chemist and politician, Antoine F de Fourcroy (1755-1809), who was the Director of the Jadin des Plantes in Paris. The name for which we originally associated this species, Furcraea roezlii honored the botanist and explorer of Mexico, Benedikt Roezl, and in fact the group of soft leafed Furcraea were once grouped into a subgenus Roezlia by British botanist John Gilbert Baker. Roezl discovered this plant in 1857 growing on Mount Acusca (AKA Ajusco) south of Mexico City at an elevation of just over 13,000 feet, but he apparently did not describe or name it then. It was introduced in European gardens shortly after this date and received the name Furcraea bedinghausii to honor Hermann Joseph Bedinghaus, the Belgian gardener who first flowered a plant in Europe in 1863. To add further confusion the genus has also been spelled Fourcroya. Knowing that multiple plant name changes confuses both our staff and our customers, we continue to list this plant as Furcraea bedinghausii but acknowledge that the current name for this taxa is now considered to be Furcraea parmentieri. The main picture on our web site is taken at Madame Ganna Walska Lotusland, from where we initially received our plants. The plants in the foreground of this picture on this page are Agave franzosinii. We have offered this great plant in our catalogs since 1985 and are happy to have it back in good quantities thanks to landscape designer Lynn Woodbury, whose plant in the Santa Barbara foothills flowered and produced a multitude of bulbils in 2022.  The information displayed on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations that we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how it has performed in our crops out in the nursery field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well, and welcome hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information we do not mention that would aid others in growing Furcraea bedinghausii.
 
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