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Home > Products > Succulents > Agave Page > Agave americana var. picta

  Agave americana var. picta
Agave americana var. picta
Agave americana var.marginata 'Aurea' at the Huntington Botanic Gardens (labeled Agave picta)

There are several forms of variegated Agave americana and there are many names used to describe them. We have created this page as a way to generate discussion and gather input on this subject in the hope that we can describe the various forms that are currently in cultivation in the United States. San Marcos Growers does not currently grow all of these plants although we have most in our collection.

Howard Scott Gentry, in his landmark "Agaves of Continental North America", considered the whole group of the large variegated Agave as varieties of A. americana that were "inconsistent in their color patterns". He lumped them under the name Agave americana var. picta and was hesitant to ascribe individual names to them because he noted that "these plants appear as inconstant changeable forms from one generation to the next and are hardly worth varietal designations." In the end Gentry included a varietal "key",using designations made by Trelease, because he thought "the names convenient for agave fanciers, census takers, or others for distinguishing and discussing their collections and so on." This key included differences between var. marginata (with white or yellow margins), var. striata (with lined yellow or whitish), var. variegata (leaf dark green and yellow twisted), var. picta (leaf larger, all green or green with yellow margins, guttered and straight or curved).

The following varieties have been described in nursery catalogs, online or in books describing Agave cultivars:

Agave americana var. mariginata - A large Agave americana variety with broad leaves that arch and curl with a green central band and yellow to white stripes along the leaf margins. This variety sometimes referred to as Agave americana 'Variegata'. It is one of the most graceful and largest of the variegated Agave americana varieties.
Agave americana var. medio picta - A medium sized Agave americana variety with with wide yellow central variegation. Holds leaves stiffly upright.
Agave americana var. medio-picta 'Alba' - Medium to smaller growing Agave americana variety with wide grayish white central variegation and blue gray margins on short leaves that arch over slightly. Flower spikes are also variegated. This is a great plant as it very attractive and remains smaller than most of the other variegated Agave americana varieties. More information can be found on our regular listing for this plant at Agave americana var. medio picta 'Alba'
Agave americana 'Marginata Aurea Monstrosa' - Interesting small plant with short narrow leaves that are green in the center with yellow variegation on the margins, which are often undulated. synonyms for this plant are Agave americana aureo-marginata ‘Monstrosa’Agave 'Hummel's Dwarf Cornelius' and Agave 'Cornelius'. There is some discussion on whether this plant is actually a variety of Agave americana. For more on information on this plant see our regular listing on this plant at Agave americana 'Marginata Aurea Monstrosa'
Agave americana var. striata - Medium sized Agave americana variety with gray leaves having thin yellow streaking throughout the leaf. Usually quite rigidly upright but quite variable and some plants loseg variegation.
Agave americana 'Variegata' - A typical sized A. americana sized variety with gray green foliage that has thin yellow to white stripes along the leaf margins - this variety is usually referred to as 'Variegata' and is the most common of the variegated Agave americana varieties.