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Products > Agave horrida
Agave horrida - Mexcalmetl
Image of Agave horrida
[2nd Image]
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. 

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