I was happy to find some images that reminded me of fireworks to start the New Year. Big thanks to Jim, aka J.G. in S.F.@Flickr of San Francisco, California for today’s photographs (original image 1 | original image 2 | BPotD Flickr Pool). Given that this is also a season of colds, I’m also amused to voice the word Hechtia with an overemphasized Germanic pronunciation (I amuse easily), though I note some places suggest the pronunciation is instead heck’ tya. I think the former is more correct, though (perhaps without the overemphasis), as the genus is named after Julius Gottfried Conrad Hecht, a 19th century German counselor to the King of Prussia. When scientific names are based on a person’s name, my understanding is that the correct pronunciation reflects the way one would say the person’s name.
The epithet texensis reveals part of the distribution of this species. Found in southwest Texas and south into northern Mexico, Texas false agave is one of five species in the genus Hechtia that extend beyond Mexico’s borders (the other 45 or so are endemic to Mexico). A close relative, Hechtia glomerata, is the only other species found north of the USA-Mexico border, though it is widespread and its range extends outside of Mexico into Central America.
Hechtia texensis is a terrestrial bromeliad, forming a caudex to aid in its survival within dry, limestone, rocky habitats. For additional photographs, see Hechtia texensis from the Texas Native Plants Database and the USDA PLANTS database: Hechtia texensis (the latter has a good shot of a plant in habitat). For a scientific description, see the Flora of North America account: Hechtia texensis.
Photography resource link: The photography of the UK-born Swedish photographer Struan Gray might intrigue some of you (I particularly like his Tanglings set). Struan also has a weblog, Twiglog, though the last entry was in June.