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Products > Agave horrida
 
Agave horrida - Mexcalmetl
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave horrida (Mexcalmetl) A small to medium sized agave with symmetrical solitary rosettes to 1 to 2 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide with mid to dark green leaves that have large long often recurved brown teeth along the leaf margins, that with age bleach out to gray, standing out well against the darker green leaves. Plant in full sun in a well-drained-soil and give occasional to infrequent irrigation. It is heat tolerant and reliably cold hardy to around 25F it survived the 3 nights below these temperatures (believed down to 21F) in a cold Goleta Valley location during the January 2007 freezes but was undamaged at our nursery which recorded 25F each of these nights. Our original plants came from a plant that survived the 1990 freeze in a Goleta, CA garden that had temperatures in the low 20's. This is a very ornamental plants and nice for the garden or in a container with it smaller size and the attractive "wicked" armament along the edges of the dark green leaves. It grows naturally on rocky volcanic slopes and lava fields at elevations between 6,900 and 7,800 feet central Mexico in the states of Morelos, Queretaro and San Luis Potosi. In these areas this plant, known as 'Mexcalmetl' it leaves reportedly collected be boiled and eaten or baked to make an alcoholic beverage called Mexcalli. The specific epithet is from the Latin word meaning "bristly", "prickly" or rough and is in reference to the large teeth on the leaf margins - Howard Scott Gentry called the leaves "formidably armed". In older treatments Agave horrida has been included with Agave ghiesbreghtii but is now considered to be a distinct species. In Puebla and Veracruz is there is an interesting plant that long went by the name Agave obscura that is now considered to be a variety of horrida that is called Agave horrida var. perotensis, and we also grow this variety. Our first plants of this variety were from aloe breeder John Bleck who gave us plantlets that were arranged in a dense mace like arrangement near the top of the 5 foot unbranched inflorescence.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Agave horrida.
 
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