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Agave deserti (Desert Agave)

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Scientific Name

Agave deserti Engelm.

Common Names

Desert Agave, Mescal, Century Plant, Maguey

Synonyms

Agave consociata, Agave desertii, Agave desertii subsp. desertii, Agave deserti var. deserti, Agave deserti subsp. deserti

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave

Description

Agave deserti is a succulent that forms rosettes of fleshy gray-green leaves with a deep central gutter, small, regularly spaced marginal teeth, and a strong terminal spine. The leaves are up to 27 inches (70 cm) long and up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide.  Flowers are bright yellow, funnel-shaped, and appear in summer on a branched, up to 20 feet (6 m) tall inflorescence.

Agave deserti - Desert Agave

Photo via inaturalist.org

How to Grow and Care

Agave is not a difficult plant to grow. They're slow-growing and dramatic and will even thrive on a bit of neglect. If you're the type of person who likes to fuss with houseplants and water a lot, Agave is probably not the plant for you. If, however, you're the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and you have a sunny window, Agave might the way to go. Be aware that some of the large varieties will eventually outgrow your room (unless you have a large greenhouse), and Agave can be aggressive. They have irritating sap and sometimes very sharp thorns that can injure small children and even pets.

In general, Agaves do not need to be repotted every year. Most of the species commonly found in cultivation grow very slowly and will take a long time to outgrow their pot. It's also best to handle your Agave as little as possible since they do not like to be disturbed. See more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.

Uses

Man has been harvesting and utilizing Agaves for approximately 9,000 years. The huge plant comprised a huge part of primitive man's diet. Closely related to lilies, there are three major parts that are edible: flowers, stalks or basal rosettes, and the sap. Leaves are a lesser edible part of the plant. See more at Century Plant: Edible Agave.

Origin

Native to desert regions in southern California, Arizona, and Baja California.

Links

BACK TO genus Agave
SUCCULENTOPEDIA: Browse succulents by GenusFamilyScientific NameCommon NameOrigin, or cacti by Genus

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