Agave is a genus of monocots. The plants are perennial, but each rosette flowers once and then dies . Some species are known by the name century plant. Traditionally, it was circumscribed to be composed of about 166 species, but it is now usually understood to have about 208 species.
Agave deserti (Desert Agave, Mescal, Century Plant or Maguey) is an agave native to desert regions in southern California, Arizona, and Baja California. Its tall yellow flower stalks dot dry rocky slopes and washes throughout the spring. It forms a rosette of fleshy grey-green leaves 20–70 cm long and 4.5–10 cm broad, with sharp spines along the edges and at the tips. It flowers at maturity, sending up an inflorescence 2–6 m tall. The panicle bears numerous yellow, funnel-shaped flowers 3–6 cm long. The Desert Agave is drought tolerant but requires good drainage. The desert dwelling Native Americans used fibers from the leaves to make cloth, bowstrings, and rope. Young flower stalks (roasted), buds, and hearts of plants (also roasted) were eaten. Natives of southern California commonly harvested the "heads" using a specialized digging stick and roasted the leaves and heart alike. Food thus obtained often became a dietary staple, even into drought years. Alcoholic drinks were also manufactured from the sweet juices of this and other agaves.
USDA Zone - 9
Season to sow - Spring
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