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  for JULY

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Products > Manfreda brunnea
Manfreda brunnea - Brown Huaco
Image of Manfreda brunnea
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: North America
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Variegated Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Cream
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Agave brunnea, Polianthes brunnea]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
Manfreda brunnea (Brown Huaco) - Evergreen herbaceous rosette forming succulent arising from a 3inch tall by 1 1/2 inch thick cylindrical corm from which emerge in spring the finely pubescent fleshy pale gray green leaves that are intensely marked with purplish red dashes on the upper surface with small wart-like elevations (verrucose) on both surfaces and tiny cartilaginous teeth along the margins. In mid-summer appear the 2 foot tall inflorescence bearing dark brownish flowers with very long tepal tubes, petals outlined in yellow and with long exerted stamens and style. A uniquely attractive looking flower! Plant in a well drained soil in full sun and irrigate occasionally to very little. Not widely grown but has proven frost hardy in bay area gardens. This plant was first collected in July, 1888 at the Mexican–American War battlefield site of the Battle of Buena Vista some forty one years after the battle by the American botanist Cyrus Guernsey Pringle. It was described by the American botanist and Harvard's Gray Herbarium curator Sereno Watson in 1891 in Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Vol. 26 (May, 1890 - May, 1891) as Agave brunnea and transferred to the genus Manfreda by Smithsonian botanist Joseph Nelson Rose in 1903 in Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 8 (1): 19 and then into the Polianthes, the genus of the Tuberose, in 1966 by Lloyd Herbert Shinners in Sida, Contributions to Botany 2: 337 (now the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas). In the current treatment by Joaquin Thiede in Urs Eggli edited Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants; Monocotyledons (Springer, 2020) this plant is listed as Agave brunnea and is noted to be in a group within the genus of the series Burnneae, section Polianthes and distinguished from others in this group by its long narrow tepal tube with exerted stamens and styles and by the coarse teeth on the leaf margins. The name for the genus honors Manfredus de Monte Imperiale, a 14th-century Italian medical scholar and writer who authored an early important herbal and the specific epithet is from the Latin 'brunneus' meaning "brown" in reference to the flower color. This plant is described and pictured on the Huntington Botanic Garden International Succulent Introduction page as ISI 2012-23 Manfreda brunnea (Wats.) Rose from tissue cultured plants grown from a plant collected in 1993, south of Bermejillo in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Our plants are grown from seed from plants cultivated by Ruth Bancroft Garden curator Brian Kemble that originated from seed collected at Santa Teresa (near Hidalgo) in the Mexican State of Durango. With its attractively dashed markings, rather than the more common splotched ones of other Manfreda, this plant might provide unique genes for crossing with agave for the creation of a new x Mangave, which have become popular plants of late. 

This information about Manfreda brunnea displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.