Share

Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    

Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Century plant)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Agave parryi Engelm. ssp. parryi

Century plant, Mescal, Parry's agave, Rough agave

Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)

Synonym(s): Agave huachucensis, Agave parryi var. couesii, Agave parryi var. huachucensis, Agave scabra

USDA Symbol: AGPAP5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

For most of its life the plant is a rosette of thick, fleshy leaves, 1 1/2 2 1/2 feet long, with spines along the margins, including one at the end of each leaf that is longer and stronger than the rest. If this terminal spine is pulled out after the leaf is cut, 2 strong fibers from the outer edge will come out with it. The century plant is most impressive in its flowering stage, when from the center of the rosette a stalk, 46 inches in diameter and similar in appearance to asparagus, grows rapidly to a height of 1220 feet, sometimes growing as much as 18 inches a day. From the upper third of this stalk grow stout stems 1 1/23 feet long, each ending in an upturned cluster (612 inches in diameter) of yellow tubular flowers (248).

This stately sentinel of the Chihuahuan desert is confined almost entirely to that area. It is commonly called the century plant because it takes so long for it to produce a blossom, though under favorable conditions it may be only 1215 years.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 2-3
Flower:
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AZ , NM , TX
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Calcareous, Clay, Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Showy
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Nectar-hummingbirds, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds

Bibliography

Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Agave parryi ssp. parryi in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Agave parryi ssp. parryi in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2007-08-09
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back