Agave attenuata

Today’s image is courtesy of Priscilla Burcher (aka PriscillaBurcher@Flickr), and I believe this is the first time we’ve featured one of Priscilla’s photographs on BPotD, so, thanks and welcome! The image was submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original image).

As noted in Wikipedia, Agave attenuata is one of the few unarmed Agave species. While technically correct, it may be better to use the term “spineless” instead of unarmed, as the former provides additional information; most Agave have spines on the leaf margins (unarmed means lacking spines, prickles, or thorns).

Native to three Mexican states, Jalisco, México and Michoacán, Agave attenuata is associated with rocky outcrops in pine forests at elevations from 1900m to 2500m (6200 to 8200ft.). It is thought to be relatively rare in the wild. In cultivation, however, it is a popular ornamental in warmer climates, and I’ve seen it in several California public gardens. Many additional images of the species are available via the Plants of Hawaii web site: Agave attenuata, including one that makes me think unpleasant thoughts about others.

A few English common names are used for the species, including swan’s neck agave, lion’s tail agave and foxtail agave.

Agave attenuata

10 responses to “Agave attenuata”

  1. Patrick Gracewood

    This agave makes a great (big) house plant. After being inside all the Oregon winter, it sun burns easily in the spring, but doesn’t mind being in the shade all summer.

  2. Jane / MulchMaid

    I have seen gorgeous plantings of this at the Huntington Gardens in Sierra Madre, CA. I would love to be able to grow it outdoors here in Portland, OR.

  3. Richard Jaffe

    We have four large A. attenuatas in our garden in San Jose (CA). Two are currently preparing to flower and die. The spike is 10′ long, curved near the top and covered with buds. Unlike most other agaves, the individual flowers come right out of the spike on very short stems. For more than 6 months we have known this was happening, because the new leaves on the rosette were much narrower than normal. The spike showed itself in October and grows in length 6-12″ per week. We have had other agaves flower (like A. americana) and this one is quite different. Feel free to contact me for pictures.

  4. Heather, Melbourne Australia

    These beautiful plants grow VERY happily here in Melbourne. And yes, I see why you would be thinking dark thoughts about some people – plant vandalism really gets my back up too.

  5. Diana Ferguson

    Priscilla – Absolutely beautiful picture.

  6. Irma in Sweden

    Wonderful picture. Will be a candidate for my computer wallpaper

  7. Eric in SF

    Here is a planting of this species in the front lawn of the Hostería Uzhpud in Gualaceo, Ecuador.
    Click the photo for a larger version.

  8. Eric Simpson

    Nicely cropped image, emphasizing the parallel veination.
    Other Eric, long time no see comment by, and nice picture of a cow.-)
    And to make a slight correction to Jane / MulchMaid’s comment, Hunington Gardens is in San Marino, not Sierra Madre (which is to the NE on the other side of the 210).

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    this is a grand photo of the day— thank you come again
    i know one eric is in arkansas where doth the other eric now dwell
    i wonder what plant or tree daniel will post for the holidays

  10. Eric Simpson

    elizabeth, in some of my past posts, I’ve talked about living in coastal North San Diego County in SoCal. Still here.

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