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Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Parry's agave)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

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 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, 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 1215 years.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
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.
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

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


Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

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


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


Propagation Material: Seeds


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

Web Reference

Webref 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 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


Record Modified: 2022-11-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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