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Agave deserti Engelm.
Desert agave, Desert century plant, Century plant
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
USDA Symbol: AGDE
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Desert century-plantís succulent, sword-like, blue-green leaves with sharp, marginal teeth and a stiff, terminal spine form a basal clump 2 ft. high and up to 6 ft. wide. When the plants are 8-20 years old they send up a sturdy, 6-9 ft., flowering stalk bearing large, mounded clusters of pale yellow, tubular flowers. After setting fruit, the entire plant dies. The dried seed capsules remain conspicuous for many months.
The Century Plant is a member of the agave family (family Agavaceae). Agaves are stout plants with woody stems or stem-bases, often tall, even tree-like, the long and narrow leaves crowded in rosettes at ends of stems or branches, a stout rapidly growing flower stalk arising from the rosette. Century Plants do not take a century to flower, but it may take them several decades to store enough food reserves to supply the rapidly growing stalk and mature the seeds. Then the rosette, often representing the entire plant, dies.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun
, CA Native Distribution: AZ,
& Mex. Native Habitat:
Washes; dry, rocky slopes below 5000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Century plant produces offsets freely. It is one of the most drought tolerant of the Agave species.
PropagationDescription: Sow seed or use offsets.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
Record Last Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff