Home   About Us   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Plant Books
FloraFinder uses cookies only for correct operation. More info. Okay

Agave parryi var. parryi Engelm.

Century plant, Parry’s agave, mescal agave

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”
SpeciesparryiNamed for botanist Charles Parry
var.parryiParry’s variety of Parry’s agave

About plant names...

Varieties of Parry's agave are native to Arizona and Mexico, between 4000-9000′ (1.2-2.7 km) in elevation. Few sources acknowledge this variety, but I couldn't resolve the uncertainty.

Identification: Rosettes reach 2′ (60 cm) tall and 3′ (91 cm) around, and resemble giant artichokes. Leaves are 10-16″ (25-40 cm) long and 3-5″ (7.6-12 cm) wide, wide and flat or somewhat oval in shape, tapering to a sharp dark tan, brown, or black tip. They are smooth and rigid, about ½-¾″ (1.3-1.9 cm) thick, edged with teeth, light grayish- or bluish-green. The flower stalk is 11-20′ (3.4-6.1 m) high, branched at the top into 18-30 branches, each with bright lemon yellow flowers. Flowering occurs between June and August.

Edibility: Indigenous peoples including the Apaches prepared this agave in many different ways as a food source.


Irish, Mary & Irish, Gary, Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants: A Gardener’s Guide, Timber Press, 2000, p. 146 (discusses Agave parryi but does not acknowledge this variety)

Online References:


SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

George and Audrey DeLange's Arizona wildflower site (Agave parryi var. truncata)

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M University, Texas A&M System (Agave parryi)

The JC Raulston Arboretum (Agave parryi subsp. parryi var. truncata 'J.C. Raulston')

Agave chihuahuana Trelease

Agave patonii Trelease

Agave scabra

Agave wizlizeni

Agave americana var. latifolia


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

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


Agave parryi (century plant, Parry’s agave, mescal agave)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Mass­a­chu­setts

Range: Zones 9-11:

About this map...