San Marcos GrowersSan Marcos Growers
New User?
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
 Web Site Search
Plant Database
Search by Plant Name
  General Plant Info
Search for any word
  Advanced Search >>
Search by size, origins,
color, cultural needs, etc.
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


 Weather Station

Products > Furcraea macdougallii
Furcraea macdougallii - MacDougall's Century Plant

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Greenish White
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [F. macdougalii, Hort.]
Height: 12-20 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Furcraea macdougallii (MacDougall's Century Plant) - A large rosette forming succulent that has 6 foot long dark-green stiffly-upright leaves with regularly-spaced hooked teeth growing at the top of an unbranched trunk that can be 8 feet tall or more - in habitat it can get up over 20 feet and is considered the tallest of the Agave relatives. We have seen this plant typically flower in cultivation when the trunk is 5 to 15 feet tall. When this plant blooms it produces a spike that can rise an additional 20 feet, bearing greenish-white flowers and then producing bulbils (plantlets) at the flower base - these bulbils perpetuate this plant's life as it is monocarpic and the main plant dies at flowering. This is one of the most spectacular and dramatic plants in the Agave family. It has a limited distribution from 2,600 to 3,300 feet in dry thorn forests in calcareous soils near Puebla in Oaxaca, Mexico. Plant in full sun and irrigate little or not at all - a very dry growing plant. Hardy to light frost with short duration temperatures down to 28° F having not damaged it. The name Furcraea was given to this genus in 1793 by the French botanist Etienne Pierre Ventenat (1757–1808) to honor French chemist and politician, Antoine F de Fourcroy (1755-1809), who was the Director of the Jadin des Plantes in Paris. This species was described by Eizi Matuda in 1955 in "Cactáceas y Suculentas Mexicanas" and named to honor his friend Thomas MacDougall (1895-1973), a Scottish-born naturalist who explored southern Mexico and who first discovered this plant in Oaxaca. This plant is often listed with the specific epithet misspelled as "macdougalii" (w/ one "l") as though to honor Dr. Daniel Trembly MacDougal, a desert ecologist from the New York Botanic Garden and namesake of Fouquieria macdougalii. Unfortunately this incorrect spelling can be found even in normally reliable sources (including The Plant List). In the Fall-Winter 2013 issue of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden Newsletter in an article titled Once in a Lifetime: Celebrating a Botanical Finale it notes that the arboretum received eight plants in 1966 and by 2013, nearly 50 years later, all but one plant had flowered and perished but had produced many plantlets to perpetuate the planting. We first started growing this great plant in 1990.  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also 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  Furcraea macdougallii.