Agave Cactus - 1 WATERMARK

AGAVE – Mexican “Aloe” – Maguey – Succulent, not a cactus.

This is the Century Plant, which can live about 35 years.  It blooms only once in its life time.

I saw this beautiful specimen at The Tijuana Estuary, which is a large coastal wetland on the border of Mexico & the U.S.  The river mouth of the Tijuana River meets the ocean.  This wetland habitat is a breeding, nesting & stopover point on the Pacific Flyway for over 370 species of migratory & native birds, which includes 6 endangered bird species.

These are gigantic plants & to me seem like something from a Dr. Seuss book!  There were lots of bees around these flowers & the flowers smelled like popcorn!

Agave flowers are edible & can be roasted & chewed like sugarcane.  Agave nectar is used as a sweetener.  (Now you know what the plant looks like that Agave Nectar comes from!)

The Aztecs used Agave plants for many things.  Paper was made out of a paste from the leaves.  The leaves were used as thatch for roofs.  The fibers were used as cords, thread & the thorns were used as needles & pins.  The roots were cooked for food.   Fermented flowers were used to make an alcoholic beverage called “pulque”.  The blue agave plant is still used today to make Tequila.  What a beautiful & useful plant.

Now that I’ve actually seen this plant (& fallen in love with it), I am inspired to paint it more.

Agave Chines Practice paper 5-2014 WATERMARK

Here are a few Japanese brush paintings of Agave Century Plants.  This one is painted on Chinese calligraphy practice paper.  I think the red grid & lines along with the horse watermark add a bit of interest to the painting.

Agave Plant in Full Bloom 5-2012 WATERMARK

This Japanese brush painting is done on rice paper, which is paper not really made of rice, but from mulberry trees.

Agave plant and quail 5-2013 WATERMARK

This painting shows a California Quail taking refuge in the grasses growing around the Century Plant & you can see how many bees are visiting the flowers.

Century plants love to grow in the desert.  Bats & coyotes visit under the moon.

Agave Plant and Nancy 5-2012 WATERMARK

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