Scientific: Agave ocahui
Common: no common name
Family: Asparagaceae (subfamily Agavoideae)
Origin: Rocky hillsides of northeastern Sonoran Desert to 4,500 feet in elevation, principally in Sonora, Mexico.

Pronounciation: A-GA-ve o-ca-HU-i

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 10, 12-24
USDA 8 (sometimes injured)-11

Landscape Use: This is a great small agave for desert gardens and patio containers. It is used principally as a nice small accent or specimen agave.

Form & Character: Rosetting basal habit, elegant and classy.

Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial, slow, rosette to 1.5 feet height with 2 feet spread at maturity. Generally does not produce basal off shoots.

Foliage/texture: Rosettes of narrow, strap shaped green leaves lacking serrations on the leaf margins. Variety ocahui has white marginal filaments on it's leaves; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Large terminal yellow flower stalk to 10 feet after many years, flower stalk unbranched. It is colorful, but not necessarily the most ornamental of agave flowers.

Seasonal color: None

Temperature: Injured below 15oF or above 115oF.

Light: Light filtered shade to full sun.

Soil: Any soil type, but thrives best if soils are well-drained.

Watering: Only limited supplemental irrigation during summer months is needed to keep plants looking healthy.

Pruning: None

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Basal fungal and bacterial stem and root rot.

Additional comments: This is a fantastic small agave for those smaller 'up close and personal' landscape spaces. It is used in the landscape much the same as A. geminiflora or A. macroacantha, but with different textural and color characteristics. Its leaves are a source of strong fibers (the word 'ocahui' is literally translated to mean 'cord'). The leaves contain saponin smilagenin which can be used as a detergent.

There are two varietal selection of Agave ocahui:

  1. A. ocahui var. ocahui has stiff, smooth, dark green leaves that are only 10 to 20 inches long, with a dehiscent white to brown border, but no marginal teeth, and a weak, flexible spine. The rosette generally remains solitary without basal offshoots.
  2. A. ocahui var. longifolia has stiff smooth leaves that are up to 3 feet long and 1 inch wide without marginal teeth.

Here's a cool Agave's Agave ocahui X Agave attenuata 'Blue Glow'.