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Products > Agave franzosinii
Agave franzosinii
Image of Agave franzosinii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [Agave beauleriana]
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 8-10 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave franzosinii - A very large and attractive century plant that can grow to 8 feet tall by 10 feet wide. It is usually seen as a single large open rosette with broad powdery bluish-gray large leaves that undulate and bend gracefully. The underside of the lower portion of the leaf is often patterned with dark green where the glaucus covering was rubbed off from contact with older leaves which gives this part of the plant an almost dark variegation. The leaves have large teeth along the margins and a dark brown terminal spine. This infrequently flowering plant produces a towering inflorescence with yellow flowers that attract birds and bees (including Orioles) and after flowering the main plant dies. While not producing many new shoots from the base, this plant does form rhizomes and new shoots can come up several feet from the main rosette of a mature plant, making them easy to remove and propagate and keeping the main plant looking more dramatic looking. Plant in full sun and irrigate only occasionally. Cold hardy to around 15 degrees F. Use extreme care when working around or trimming any Agave as not only are the spines wicked and cause a painful swelling if one is poked by them, but the sap of many species is caustic. Many a person has regretted using a chainsaw, which throws the juices back at the user, to trim an agave. This species is unknown in the wild and has only been described from plants in cultivation. There has been notable variability in plants of this species and Howard Gentry, in his book "Agaves of North America" noted that this is probably due to seedling variation. Some forms exhibit large teeth that are widely spaced while others have smaller teeth more closely spaced. Foliage color variations have also been noted from a startling white gray to a light gray blue. Our form has white-gray foliage with widely-spaced large coarse teeth. We feel that this is one of the most beautiful and unique agaves for a large space. The large plants along the main lawn at Lotusland are of this species and our form appears identical to these plants. We also grow another seemingly related plant that is commonly sold as Agave franzosinii that has smaller regularly spaced teeth on leaves that are a darker gray color, undulate less and lack the dark bud print markings of Agave franzosinii our thanks go out to Mark Sitter at B&B Succulents in Tuscon for coining the name Agave 'Sawtooth' for this plant. Agave franzosinii was first described in 1885 by the German botanist Carl Ludwig Sprenger in Deutsche Garten-Zeitung, now called Garten Flora, from a plant growing in an Italian garden called Villa Franzosini at Intra, Lago Maggiore, where it may have originated as a hybrid or was a variety of Agave americana or another species that had been transported from the New World. Alwin Berger listed this plant in Die Agaven (1915) spelling the specific epithet as "franzosini' with one "i" and this spelling was used by Gentry in his Agaves of Continental North Americana but most authors since write it with the double i's. When Joaquin Thiede wrote the Agave section in Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants edited by Urs Eggli (Springer, 2001), he listed this plant as Agave franzosinii Baker but noted that Agave beauleriana was used by Richard Howard of the Arnold Arboretum in his Flora of the Lesser Antilles (1979) and that, though he credited Berger he further noted that the name was used prior to Berger, and that further study was required. Berger himself listed Agave franzosinii and Agave beauleriana as separate taxa in Die Agaven. According to The Plant List (the collaboration between Kew and Missouri botanic gardens) the accepted name for this taxa is now Agave beauleriana Jacobi but in Joachim Thiede's 2017 article in Taxon (v66 n.4) titled "Proposal to Conserve the Name Agave franzosinii Against A. beaulueriana", Theide makes the case to retain the name Agave franzosinii and so we continue to list this plant under its long recognized name. 

This information about Agave franzosinii displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.