Agave americana L. var. marginata Trel.


Liliaceae (Lily Family)


Tropical America


Century Plant

                            September Photo


Plant Characteristics: Lvs. borne next to the ground in a massive rosette, 3-6 ft. long and 6-8 in. broad, thick and heavy, green with yellow margins, smooth, upcurved, prickly on the edges; fls. in a bracted scape or stalk 20-40 ft. tall, about 2.5 in. across with segms. yellowish-green, borne erect on many horizontal branches; fr. a capsule, +/- ovoid, loculicidal; seeds many, flat, black.


Habitat:  Escape from cultivation.  Flowers produced at maturity of the plant, at 10 years or more, whereupon the plant dies.


Name:  Greek, Agave, noble, from imposing stature.  (Hickman, Ed. 1172).  Americana refers to the area where the plant was first found.  Latin, marginis, edge, border. (Jaeger 150).  Referring to the yellow margin on the leaves.  (my comment).


General:  Rare in the study area with only one colony known and this in the 23rd. Street area.  Through the years this colony has expanded, the plants have matured and bloomed but there is still only one location where the species is found.  (my comment).      Be sure you really want one before planting it.  The bulk and spines make it formidable to remove.  After flowering, which may take years, the foliage clump dies, usually leaving behind suckers that make new plants.  Drought resistant; they shrivel from serious drought but plump up again when watered or rained on.  Fire retardant.  (Sunset Editors New Western Garden Book, 1984. 171).       For additional information see Agave americana.          Comparison of the DNA sequences for various genes, usually those found in the chloroplast of the plant cell has led biologists to propose many changes in the plant families as they are now known.  It is proposed to move the genus Agave from Liliaceae back to Agavaceae.  (Kelch, Dean G. “Consider the Lilies” FREMONTIA, A Journal of the California Native Plant Society Vol. 30 No. 2 April 2002 pp. 23-29).


Text Ref:  Bailey 239; Hickman, Ed. 1172; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 864; Sunset Editors, New Western Garden Book, 1984. 171;  Roberts 41.

Photo Ref:  Aug-Sept 92 #5,6; Mar-April 05 # 8A.

Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by John Johnson.

First Found:  September 1992.


Computer Ref:  Plant Data 501.

No plant specimen.

Last edit 4/20/05.


                                             March Photo