Agave americana Variegata
English name: American argave ‘Variegata’/Variegated century plant
Latin name: Agave Americana ‘Variegata’
Family: Asparagaceae - Asparagaceae
Origin: Under cultivation at the Palm House
This is the largest agave species. Its leaves are fleshy, very rigid and fibrous, with prickly edges, and end in sharp spikes. The leaves, gathered in a rosette, have adapted so that they can collect moisture during times of drought. They have a strong waxy coating, accounting for their bluish or gray-green colouring. They reach a length of 1 to 2.3 metres, a width of 12 – 30 cm., and a thickness of up to 8 cm. The leaves of the ‘Variegata’ cultivar have a creamy-yellow fringe. The young leaves are vertical, while the older leaves wind themselves into an S-shape. Scaly leaves form on the inflorescence. The stem is short and fleshy; when the plant flowers, it lengthens, bringing the inflorescence to a height of 10 to 14 m. The agave blooms only once in its life, then dies. When it flowers, the stem grows from the centre of the leaf rosette, crowned by an inflorescence consisting of thousands of yellow, six-part, tubular, sweet-smelling flowers. The flowers grow up to 10 cm. in length. After it flowers, seeds pour from its boll and the plant dies. Apart from these seeds, it usually leaves behind a number of smaller, younger rosettes, which have grown at the base of the plant.