Scientific: Agave nickelsiae x scabra 'Sharkskin' (formerly A. Agave x ferdinandi-regis x scabra 'Sharkskin')
Common: Sharkskin agave
Family: Asparagaceae (subfamily Agavoideae)
Origin: Naturally occuring hybrid between A. nickelsiae and A. scabra that occurred at the Huntington Garden in San Marino, California.

Pronounciation: A-GA-ve SHARK-skin

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 12-24
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: This is a smaller agave for more personal but sunny landscape spaces, small residential front yards, succulent collection gardens, textural accent, night landscapes (night lighting of Agave nickelsiae.

Form & Character: Small, upright, rosetting, smooth and friendly. This is an agave that you may just feel inclined to touch.

Growth Habit: Slowly, upright and coarsely rosetting to 2 feet in height (3 feet in high in California coastal areas) with equal spread. Produces some basal off shoots from underground rhizomes.

Foliage/texture: Leaves are rigid, thick and smooth, dull glaucous green, to 12 inches long, coarsely rosetting; coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Monocarpic, grows arborescent clusters of flowers on a 15 to 20 foot stalk; frequently will grow bulbils on stalks after flowering.

Seasonal color: None

Temperature: Mostly tolerant of desert heat, hardy to 20oF.

Light: Full sun, except will look a little less stressed in Phoenix with a few hours of protection from the extreme summer western sun.

Soil: Tolerant

Watering: Limited to no supplemental irrigation is required for Sharkskin agave. Irrigation will increase vigor somewhat.

Pruning: None

Propagation: Division of underground rhizomes.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: If you're a small agave collector like me, you have to have this wonderful small agave in your garden or front yard landscape for all to see. It's totally people friendly.

The taxonomy of Sharkskin agave is confusing and somewhat disputed. Another name occassionally and incorrectly attributed to this wonderful hybrid is Agave 'Ruth Bancroft' from the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California. This name is confusing and apparently not supported by the Ruth Bancroft Garden staff who would rather have their similar looking Agave hybrid selection called 'Sharkskin Shoes' to differentiate their plants from those originating from the Huntington Botanic Garden.