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Hechtia texensis (Texas false agave)
Anderson, Wynn

Hechtia texensis

Hechtia texensis S. Watson

Texas False Agave, Guapilla

Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad Family)

Synonym(s): Hechtia scariosa

USDA Symbol: HETE7

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This bromeliad grows in north central Mexico and the Big Bend region of far west Texas, where it resembles Agave lechuguilla but is easily distinguished by the rich red color of its leaves - either the whole upper surface or just the edges and tips. The upward-pointing leaves are tapering, 1 to 1.5 inches wide at the base, up to 17 inches long, and lined with a regular array of large teeth (lechuguilla have no teeth). In arid conditions leaf tips may turn brown and become shriveled. The small, brownish white springtime flowers are borne on a branched stalk about 2 feet tall. New plants sprout from the base.

Description provided courtesy of The American Southwest.


From the Image Gallery

21 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: Up to about 4 feet tall when flowering.
Flower: Pale brown, whitish; in clusters along a branched stalk.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Brown
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: Big Bend area of west Texas.
Native Habitat: Limestone terraces, gravel flats.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Rocky, Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Fall conspicuous, Accent tree or shrub
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Seeds-Small mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1100 Collected 2007-09-04 in Brewster County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 15 - The American Southwest (1994) John Crossley

Additional resources

USDA: Find Hechtia texensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hechtia texensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hechtia texensis


Record Modified: 2019-06-19
Research By: TWC Staff

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