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Agave vilmoriniana A. Berger

Octopus 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”
SpeciesvilmorinianaIn honor of French seed producer Maurice de Vilmorin

About plant names...

Like most agaves, this is an evergreen that dies after blooming. It reaches 3-4′ (91-121 cm) in height, and a width of up to 6′ (1.8 m), with long blue-green leaves that curve outward and downward, forming a basal rosette. The leaves have a velvety texture. The plant's resemblance to an octopus waving its tentacles gives it its common name. They originated in Mexico, at elevations between 2000-5000′ (609-1524 m). Plants may bloom in as few as 7-10 years, much sooner than most agaves.

Identification: The rosette of leaves is up to 3′ (91 cm) high and 5′ (1.5 m) around. Each leaf is crescent-shaped in cross section. The flowers form from a large central panicle 10-16′ (3-4.9 m) in height. Flowers are yellow-white to yellow.

Online References:

as Compiled by the Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension


George and Audrey DeLange's Arizona wildflower site

Chris A. Martin's site at Arizona State University


Irish, Mary & Irish, Gary, Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants: A Gardener’s Guide, Timber Press, 2000, p. 178

Agave vilmoriana

Agave mayoensis

Agave eduardii

Agave houghii


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

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Agave vilmoriniana (octopus agave)

5/24/2009 · Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Ari­zona

Range: Zones 7b-11:

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