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Products > Agave potatorum 'Mariscal'
Agave potatorum 'Mariscal' - Butterfly Agave

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [A. scolymus, A. verschaffletii]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave potatorum 'Mariscal' (Butterfly Agave) - A selection of Agave potatorum, a medium sized solitary agave from the semi-arid highlands between 4,000 and 7,000 feet of Puebla and Oaxaca. As with the species this plant has broad gray leaves that form in an open symmetrical rosette to 1 to 2 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide. The many 10 to 18 inch long leaves are slightly reflexed back near the tips with chestnut brown spines; the 1 inch long terminal spine is slightly wavy and the short marginal spines are on tubercle-like prominences. This selection differs in having redder spines and margins than are typical and the 1 inch long red terminal spine is very wavy. When mature a flower spike rises 10 to 20 feet bearing light green flowers tinged with red and subtended with red bracts. This agave rarely offsets so, after maturing, which in our experience begins to occur when plants are as young as 10 years old, it will flower (usually during the fall) and then the entire plant declines and dies. Plant in full sun with little irrigation required in coastal gardens but provide some supplemental irrigation in hotter inland gardens. Winter hardy to around 25 degrees. This species is quite variable in form; some plants have flatter leaves radiating straight out from the crown while others have leaves that are slightly cupped along the margins and are reflexed back. This beautiful agave was appreciated by the Nahuatl Indians who called it 'papalometl' meaning "Butterfly Agave". The specific name "potatorum" is the generative of the Latin word 'potator' meaning "of the drinkers" in reference to the use of this plant in making alcoholic beverages. Our plants from a particularly nice Agave potatorum that was purchased from Mariscal Cactus and Succulents in Fallbrook, California the plant was cored and vegetatively propagated. This plant is very similar to the best of our seedling plants that we call Agave potatorum 'Swizzle Stick' which have leaves cupped along the margins and reflexed back towards the tips with a long reddish terminal spine that is distinctively wavy in a manner our friend Jeff Chemnick calls a swizzle stick.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome 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 would aid others in growing  Agave potatorum 'Mariscal'.