The green links below add additional plants to the comparison table. Blue links lead to other Web sites.
enable glossary links

American agave, American century plant, centuryplant, maguey americano

dwarf century plant, Regel agave

Habit Plants acaulescent or short-stemmed, commonly suckering, trunks less than 2 m; rosettes not cespitose, 10–20 × 20–37 dm. Plants short-stemmed, commonly suckering, trunk less than 0.5 m; rosettes not cespitose, 7–9 × 7–9 dm.
Leaves

erect, spreading to ascending, occasionally reflexed, 80–200 × 15–25 cm;

blade light green to green or glaucous-gray, sometimes variegated or cross-zoned, narrowly to broadly lanceolate, smooth, rigid;

margins nearly straight or undulate to crenate, armed, teeth single, 5–10 mm, 1–4 cm apart;

apical spine dark brown to grayish, conical or subulate, 2–6 cm.

spreading and arching, 50–90 × 7–12 cm;

blade green, not cross-zoned, linearlanceolate, firm, adaxially guttered, abaxially slightly convex;

margins straight, finely and sparsely fibrous, typically unarmed, teeth single prickles when present, 1–2 mm, 1–2+ cm apart;

apical spine dark brown, subulate, 2–3 cm.

Scape

5–9 m.

2.5–3 m.

Inflorescences

paniculate, not bulbiferous;

bracts persistent, triangular, 5–15 cm;

lateral branches 15–35, horizontal to slightly ascending, comprising distal 1/3–1/2 of inflorescence, longer than 10 cm.

paniculate, compact, often bulbiferous;

bracts persistent, triangular, 0.5–2 cm;

lateral branches 20–36, ascending, comprising distal 1/2–2/3 of inflorescence, longer than 10 cm.

Flowers

erect, 7–10.5 cm;

perianth yellow, tube funnelform to cylindric, 8–20 × 12–20 mm, limb lobes erect, subequal, 20–35 mm;

stamens long-exserted;

filaments inserted above mid perianth tube, erect, yellow, 6–9 cm;

anthers yellow, 25–35 mm;

ovary 3–4.5 cm, neck constricted, 3–6(–8) mm.

15–21 per cluster, erect, 4–6 cm;

perianth pale yellow, tube salverform, 10–12 × 14–17 mm, limb lobes erect, equal, 13–15 mm;

stamens long-exserted;

filaments inserted near top of perianth tube, erect, yellow, 3–4 cm;

anthers yellow, 13–26 mm;

ovary 1.5–2.5 cm, neck not constricted, 1–3 mm.

Capsules

short-pedicellate, oblong, 3.5–8 cm, apex beaked.

not seen.

Seeds

6–8 mm.

unknown.

2n

= 60.

Agave americana

Agave desmettiana

Phenology Flowering late spring–early summer.
Habitat Sandy places along roadsides and in hammocks
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Distribution
from USDA
sw United States; Mexico
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
FL; Mexico [Introduced in North America]
[BONAP county map]
Discussion

Subspecies 2 (2 in the flora).

Various chromosome numbers have been reported for Agave americana under a variety of names, typically without regard to the plant’s origin or its precise taxonomic disposition. Nonetheless, the species is most certainly a polyploid complex based on x = 30, with reports of n = 30 and 2n = 60, 120, and 180 documented by S. D. McKelvey and K. Sax (1933), H. Matsuura and T. Sutô (1935), E. B. Granick (1944), A. K. Sharma and U. C. Bhattacharyya (1962), M. S. Cave (1964), S. Banerjee and A. K. Sharma (1987), Huang S. F. et al. (1989) and B. Vijayavalli and P. M. Mathew (1990). Various dysploids have also been reported (A. F. Dyer et al. 1970; J. L. Strother and G. L. Nesom 1997). See H. S. Gentry (1982) for details.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Agave desmettiana is an attractive and frequently cultivated plant, probably native to Sinaloa, Mexico. The species may be an ancient cultivar, possibly derived from A. sisalana or A. kewensis Jacobi. The plant reproduces only by vegetative means; capsules and seeds have never been seen. H. S. Gentry (1982) indicated that the plant produces a fine but weak fiber. In Mexico it is grown only as an ornamental.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Key
1. Leaves 80–135 cm, 4–6 times longer than wide; capsules 3.5–4 cm.
subsp. protamericana
1. Leaves 100–200 cm, 6–10 times longer than wide; capsules 4–8 cm.
subsp. americana
Source FNA vol. 26, p. 452. FNA vol. 26, p. 454.
Parent taxa Agavaceae > Agave Agavaceae > Agave
Sibling taxa
A. asperrima, A. chrysantha, A. decipiens, A. delamateri, A. deserti, A. desmettiana, A. gracilipes, A. havardiana, A. lechuguilla, A. mckelveyana, A. murpheyi, A. neglecta, A. palmeri, A. parryi, A. parviflora, A. phillipsiana, A. schottii, A. shawii, A. sisalana, A. toumeyana, A. univittata, A. utahensis, A. weberi, A. ×ajoensis, A. ×arizonica, A. ×glomeruliflora
A. americana, A. asperrima, A. chrysantha, A. decipiens, A. delamateri, A. deserti, A. gracilipes, A. havardiana, A. lechuguilla, A. mckelveyana, A. murpheyi, A. neglecta, A. palmeri, A. parryi, A. parviflora, A. phillipsiana, A. schottii, A. shawii, A. sisalana, A. toumeyana, A. univittata, A. utahensis, A. weberi, A. ×ajoensis, A. ×arizonica, A. ×glomeruliflora
Subordinate taxa
A. americana subsp. americana, A. americana subsp. protamericana
Synonyms A. regeliana
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 323. (1753) Jacobi: Hamburger Garten- Blumenzeitung 22: 217. (1866)
Web links