San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for APRIL

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Agave ovatifolia
Agave ovatifolia - Whale's Tongue Agave
Image of Agave ovatifolia
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10░ F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave ovatifolia (Whale's Tongue Agave) - A solitary (non-offsetting) succulent that grows from 2 to 5 feet tall by 3 to 7 feet wide with a rounded rosette of short wide gray leaves that are distinctively cupped. Leaves have small teeth along their margins and a 1 inch long dark gray terminal spine. It has been noted that this plant has stayed smaller in hot dry locations where water has been withheld but responds well to irrigation and grows much larger. When this plant flowers it forms a 10-14 foot tall spike with greenish-yellow flowers. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. A drought tolerant plant but it grows considerably larger when given regular irrigation. Has proven hardy down to at least 4-5░ F. This Agave occurs naturally at elevations from 3,700 to 7,000 feet in the Sierra de Lampazos in northern Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico. It was originally collected and distributed around 1894 by Mrs Anna Nickels as Agave "Noah", but was never properly described or published under this name ("Proposal to reject the name Agave noah (Agavaceae)" in the November 2003 issue of Taxon (52) by Greg Star, JosÚ Villarreal, Eduardo Estrada & Manuel de la Rosa). This plant was once synonymized with Agave wislizenii by Trelease in 1911 and more recently included with A. parryi. It was properly described as Agave ovatifolia by Greg Starr and Jose Angel Villareal (STARR G, VILLARREAL JAQ. 2002. "Agave ovatifolia (Agavaceae) Una Nueva Especie De Maguey Del Noreste De Mexico" Sida 20 (2): 495-499). The specific epithet, from the Latin words 'ovatus' for "egg" and 'folius' for "leaves", is in reference to the broad ovate leaves and the common name, whale's tongue agave, also describes the leaf shape. There is speculation that this plant was distributed in California unnamed but there is no documentation on this or information how this plant performs in cultivation in California. As it is similar and related to Agave parryi, the presumption is that it will grow as well as Agave parryi does in cultivation - so far this has proven true. Our original stock plants were purchased from Starr Nursery in 2004. Though we do not still grow this form we do continue to grow a seedling selection called Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue'

This information about Agave ovatifolia 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.