Fab Foliage Friday

Furcraea are freakin' fantastic! I've proclamied my undying love for all things bromeliaceous or agavaceous in the past, and my ardor shows no sign of abating. Here's why: These plants have a supremely sculptural quality, for my money, one of the best shapes in the whole plant kingdom. Its sturdy, meaty leaves thrust purposefully from the ground. Like broadswords, they parry the elements, slashing at wind, and cutting through the rain. The plant's resolute nature gives it an elegant, classical quality.

As a collector of plant oddities, I am always on the lookout for plants that are like little works of art, and consider my garden (at least parts of it), to be a living gallery of chlorophyllic, sculpturous shapes and textures-furcraeas fit right in. They also appeal because they are spineless-which is not to say they have no presence--on the contrary! What they don't have are spines, or, colloquially, prickers, stickers, thorns or whatever you want to call the lethal protrusions that make handling agaves a dicey proposition. Put a furcraea in a pot (or better yet, an urn), put the pot anywhere there's enough room, and presto-you have just  improved the neighborhood. Sadly these things aren't hardy in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6 garden, but they seem content lolling away the winter in my basement, illumined by a few florescent lights. I photographed these specimens at the New York Botanic Garden, so not certain of the species or cultivar name but probably Furcraea gigantea 'Variegata'.

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