, 63:203 | Cite as

Agave turneri (Agavaceae), a new species from northeastern Baja California, Mexico



Agave turneri, a new species of Agave from the Sierras Cucapá and El Mayor in northeastern Baja California, Mexico, is a medium-sized species that does not produce offsets, has a relatively short and narrow panicle, and has a distinctive flower structure. The closest relatives to this new species are Agave moranii, which occurs approximately 200 km to the south of the type locality, and A. deserti var. simplex, which occurs in Arizona and California. This new species is a narrow endemic restricted to specific granodiorite and tonalite habitats in a hyperarid environment. Agave turneri appears to be a critically endangered owing to its habitat preference for specific types of granite in the Sierra Cucapá, threats due to prolonged drought and global change, and its close proximity to the Mexicali metropolitan area.

Key Words

Agave Agavaceae Baja California hyperarid desert endemic 


Se describe una nueva especie de agave, Agave turneri. La planta es de tamaño mediano, no produce hijuelos y su inflorescencia es relativamente corta y angosta. Sus parientes más cercanos son Agave moranii, que está presente a unos 200 km hacia el sur de la localidad tipo y A. deserti var. simplex, que se distribuye en Arizona y California. La especie es endémica y restringida al noreste de Baja California, México, donde ocurre sobre granodiorita y tonalita de hábitats hiperáridos en las Sierras Cucapá y El Mayor. Agave turneri parece estar en un estatus de conservación de peligro de extinción, debido a su ámbito y hábitat tan restringidos, las sequías prolongadas y el cambio global, y por su cercanía al área metropolitana de Mexicali.



We thank Ray Turner and Stephen Bullock for their companionship and help with field work in Baja California and their choice of which Goldman photograph to match in the Sierra el Mayor. Diane Boyer, Steve Hayden, and Todd Esque helped with the field description. Brad Hollingsworth and Jon Rebman shared their knowledge of this species and herbarium specimens. Thanks to José María Domínguez and Francisco Javier Ponce for their technical help with the line drawings. C.M. Wilmot-Dear of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Surrey, UK, wrote the Latin description. We thank Stephen Bullock, Diane Boyer, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. This work was funded by USGS and CICESE under SEMARNAT-CONACYT grant 23777.

Literature Cited

  1. Barnard, F. L. 1968. Structural Geology of the Sierra de Los Cucapás, Northeastern Baja California, Mexico, and Imperial County, California. Unpublished M.S. thesis, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder.Google Scholar
  2. Gentry, H. S. 1978. The Agaves of Baja California. Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences No. 130, San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1982. Agaves of Continental North America. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.Google Scholar
  4. Hodgson, W. C. 2001. Taxonomic novelties in American Agave (Agavaceae). Novon 11: 410–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kniffen, F. B. 1932. Lower California Studies. IV. The Natural Landscape of the Colorado Delta. University of California Publications in Geography 5(4): 149–244.Google Scholar
  6. Navarro-Quezada, A., R. González-Chauvet, F. Molina-Freaner & L. E. Eguiarte. 2003. Genetic differentiation in the Agave deserti (Agavaceae) complex of the Sonoran desert. Heredity 90: 220–227.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Nelson, E. W. 1922. Lower California and Its Natural Resources. Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. V. 16. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. Reveal, J. L. & W. C. Hodgson. 2002. 7. Agave Linnaeus. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. Flora of North America North of Mexico Vol. 26: 442–461.Google Scholar
  9. Turner, R. M., J. E. Bowers & T. L. Burgess. 1995. Sonoran Desert Plants. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyTucsonU.S.A.
  2. 2.Departamento de Biología de la ConservaciónCentro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de EnsenadaEnsenadaMéxico

Personalised recommendations