agave

At a Halloween happy hour recently in Washington, D.C., a small crowd gathered to celebrate the relationship between bats and spirits.

Not spooky spirits. Instead, think tequila and mescal.

“We’re here at a bar tonight to talk about [bats], because they are intimately tied to agave,” announced Mike Daulton, the executive director of Bat Conservation International, a nonprofit devoted to the well-being of bats.

You can’t have tequila without agave, the spiky desert plant used as its base. And it’s hard to have agave without bats — because a few species of these winged creatures are the plant’s primary pollinators. Agave co-evolved with bats over thousands of years. As a result, it’s one of the very few plants that pollinates at night. Daulton says industrial agave farming adversely affects both plants and bats.

Bats And Tequila: A Once Boo-tiful Relationship Cursed By Growing Demands

Photo: Merlin Tuttle/Bat Conservation International

SUCCULENTS THAT YOU CAN'T PROPAGATE FROM LEAVES.

I am SO SICK of people saying “I’ve never had luck propagating aloe from leaves, but let me know if it works for you” or “you can propagate any succulent from a leaf or a bit of stem” because YOU CAN’T.

Aloe
Haworthia
Agave
Aeonium
Sempervivum

These are all plants that will never produce a new plant from a leaf. Ever. And there are probably others I’m missing. (Gasteria?)

Aloe, agave, and haworthia will both produce “pups.” Small plants that grow from the stem or from runners the mother plant sends out in the soil. If you pull a leaf off and lay it on dirt, you’ll have a dead leaf.
You can also behead an aloe, leave the stem, and new babies will grow all around the chopped stem.

I believe aeoniums are similar in their offshoots, but I don’t know off the top of my head.

Sempervivum put out oodles of baby plants. Cut one off, stick it in dirt, boom, you have another plant. Individual leaves won’t do anything but die.

If a leaf is attached to the stem in a dot shape; like graptopetalum, echeveria, sedum, pachyphytum, and all the hybrids and cross breeds; you can pull off a leaf and the leaf will create a new plant. If the base of the leaf creates a line or wraps all the way around the stem like aloes, you need the stem or runners in order to propagate the plant.

Everybody got it?
YOU CAN’T PROPAGATE NEW ALOE PLANTS FROM LEAVES. EVER. WITH ANY METHOD.

Sunset from the south rim of the Chisos Mountains. Still one of the cooler places I’ve backpacked to, the view from here is endless as you gaze across the border into the mountains of Mexico.

Big Bend National Park - April 2014

Shot notes:

Velvia 100 4x5, 90mm Caltar Lens
8 second at f32, 2 stop soft GND filter