Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/14

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PSM V78 D014 A wand like spike.png
Fig. 8. A Wand-like Spike.

characteristic of the Grand Cañon, and a garden Littæa which many years ago I named in commemoration of the accurate student of this group of plants, Engelmann.

Agave parviflora is clearly a Littæa, with its flowers rather loosely disposed along the upper part of an inflorescence wand scarcely thicker than a goose-quill, but its flowers by no means grow in pairs, though each short main stalk forks at the beginning. On the contrary, clusters of six or eight flowers—of which all but two or four commonly fail to develop—are borne by its forked primary branches, a study of which is capable of throwing much light on the reduced rather than primitive typical twin flowers of the littæas.

As with all of the agaves that have been studied so far, this species matures the stamens and pistils of a given flower at different times. The flowers, which open early in the morning, quickly protrude their stamens and shed their pollen immediately, but the style is then no