Agave parryi ssp. parryi
Agave parryi Engelm. ssp. parryi
Parry's Agave, Rough Agave, Century Plant, Mescal
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
Synonym(s): Agave huachucensis, Agave parryi var. couesii, Agave parryi var. huachucensis, Agave scabra
USDA Symbol: AGPAP5
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, 4-6 inches in diameter and similar in appearance to asparagus, grows rapidly to a height of 12-20 feet, sometimes growing as much as 18 inches a day. From the upper third of this stalk grow stout stems 1 1/2-3 feet long, each ending in an upturned cluster (6-12 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 12–15 years.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Rosette of leaves up to about 30 inches tall. Flower scape up to about 20 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AZ , NM , TX
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas
Growing ConditionsWater 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
BenefitUse Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Showy
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Nectar-hummingbirds, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
BibliographyBibref 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
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: 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
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-11-01
Research By: TWC Staff