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Scientific: Agave parryi
Common: Parry's agave
Family: Asparagaceae (subfamily Agavoideae)
Origin: Plants are widely scattered on rocky open slopes within upper Sonoran Desert transition zones into grassland, chaparral, oak woodland and montane ecotones at elevations from 3,000 to 9,000 ft. Overall, Agave parryi has one of the most extensive native ranges across North America of any Agave taxon that extends from central Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, south to Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas and Guanajuato, Mexico.

Pronounciation: A-GA-ve par-REE-eye

Hardiness zones
11-13, 18-24
USDA 7-11 (semi-arid to arid zones only)

Landscape Use: Coarse accent plant for succulent and rock gardens, desert gardens, xeric landscae design themes, native desert landscape planting themes, either singly or in groups.

Form & Character: Short, stout, stiffly well armed, basal rosetting, grey, dangerous.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, rosetting succulent perennial, monocarpic, slow growing to 3 feet tall with equal spread, readily produces basal offsets by rhizomes (short underground stems).

Foliage/Texture: Stiff, elongated strap-shaped leaves, variable in color ranging from glaucous green to glaucous blue, ovate, triangulated succulent to 12 inches long with 6 inches spread, widest at base, each leaf is well armed with a stout, sharp, pointed apical spine, 1.5 inches long. leaf marginal spines to 5/8 inch long, reddish brown in color; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: A single, terminal paniculate flower stalk to 12 feet with bright yellow flowers expressed from red flower buds after 25 years, flowers exceptionally intricate and beautiful; fruit capsulated.

Seasonal Color: None, except when in flower after many years.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun

Soil: Avoid poorly-drained soils and do not over irrigate. Parry's agave needs good soil drainage.

Watering: Little to none required after establishment.

Pruning: It is advisable to clip foliar spines if located in areas of human traffic. They are very dangerous!

Propagation: Division of basal offsets, seed.

Disease and Pests: Agave snout weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus) will attack several agave species in the low desert of Arizona including Parry's agave.

Additional comments: Parry's agave is a nice, smaller, but dangerous, mostly blue-gray agave for small desert garden spaces and containers. The aggressive activity of pollinators when this Agave species is in flower is a real sight to behold!

A bit of taxonomic confusion: The precise nomenclature of this taxon is in dispute because of phenotypic variation across its geopgraphic range, but most identify it as A. parryi. In Phoenix landscapes, there are two accepted subspecies and three popular varieties of A. parryi:

Agaves are prized around the world for their interesting forms, textures, and colors.