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Products > Agave asperrima
Agave asperrima - Rough Century Plantave
Image of Agave asperrima
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [A. scabra]
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Agave asperrima (Rough Century Plant) - A medium sized agave growing to about 4 feet tall with thick blue-gray 3 foot long leaves that are 4 to 6 inches wide at the widest point towards the middle and deeply guttered lengthwise with a tapering tip ending in a long dark brown spine and with large teeth along the margins. The flowers are bright yellow in peduncles of a 15 to 20 foot tall spike. The flowers attract nectar feeding birds but as with other agave it doesn't bloom often (in this case after about 15 years) and after it does, the flowering rosettes dies but is replaced by new plants (suckers) emerging at the base. Plant in full sun and irrigate occasionally to not at all this desert species is very drought tolerant in our climate and one can do more harm than good by irrigating in the summer. Cold hardy to around 15 degrees F and useful in USDA Zones 8a and above. This species comes from 4,000 to 7,200 feet elevations in the Chihuahuan desert in southwestern Texas and northern Mexico. This plant was long called Agave scabra but due to a bit of a taxonomic mix up caused partially by the synonymizing of two previously thought to be distinct species and the incorporation of Mangave into the genus Agave (there was also a Manfreda scabra), the name Agave asperrima took precedence. Confusingly, there are many who still list this plant under the name Agave scabra, which rightfully now is a name for the plant that used to be called Manfreda scabra. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'asper' meaning "rough" in reference to the sandpaper-like texture of the leaf surface and its previous name, derived from the Latin word 'scabrum' meant the same. This is thought to be the one parent that crossed with Agave nickelsiae, the king form of Agave victoriae-reginae also known as Agave ferdinandi-regis, of the very popular hybrids Agave 'Sharkskin' and 'Sharkskin Shoes'. It is a very attractive medium sized agave and its distinctively deeply channeled leaves, which some describe as looking like a taco, with very rough textured undersides, makes this species easy to identify. As with others in the genus, care must be exercised when choosing to plant. Give it plenty of room and situate it away from traffic and use care when working around or trimming any Agave. Not only are the spines wicked and cause a painful swelling if one is poked, 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 information about Agave asperrima 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.