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Agave parrasana Berger


KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderAsparagalesA diverse group that includes asparagus
FamilyAsparagaceaeAgaves, asparagus, hyacinths, and others
GenusAgaveFrom Greek, meaning “noble”

About plant names...

Cabbage head agave is found only in Coahulio, Mexico, and it is surprisingly cold tolerant (as low as 10-15°F), because in its native area it grows between elevations of 4500-8000′ (1.4-2.4 km).

Identification: The small, symmetrical blue-gray balls are 2½-3′ (76-91 cm) in diameter. Leaves are short, wide, nearly round, with spines along the edges. The leaves are textured with patterns and color variations that look like impressions from nearby leaves. Not to be outdone by its much larger relatives, this agave produces a flower spike 9½-13′ (3-4 m) high, split into 12-15 branches at the top; the open flowers are yellow, tinged with red or purple. The tall stalk, a little like a giant sprig of asparagus, is similar to the century plant, but the century plant has long sharp-edged leaves. It looks similar to Agave parryi, another cold-hardy species that resembles a cabbage. Wikipedia explains that Agave parryi has darker points on each leaf tip (dark tan, brown, or black), and that the indentations of previous leaves show on the back of each leaf.


Irish, Mary & Irish, Gary, Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants: A Gardener’s Guide, Timber Press, 2000, p. 145

Online References:



Chris A. Martin's site at Arizona State University

The Garden Geeks

Cactus Art: the World of Cacti & Succulents

Agave wislizeni ssp. parrasana


Agave parrasana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Agave parrasana (agave)

5/24/2009 · Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Ari­zona · ≈ 1½ × 1′ (56 × 37 cm) ID is dubious

Agave parrasana (agave)

5/25/2009 · Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Ari­zona ID is dubious

Range: Zones 8b-10b:

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