Agave ovatifolia

Accession Count: 6
Common Name: Whale's Tongue Agave
Family Name: Asparagaceae
Botanical Name: Agave ovatifolia
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Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: Agave ovatifolia is an evergreen, perennial succulent, with thick, long, wide, pale-blue leaves (1). These long, but slightly cupped leaves have evenly spaced spikes  along the edges as well as a large terminal spine at the apex of each leaf (2).  The terminal spine range in color from deep purple to a sage green, matching the leaf’s main color. Agave ovatifolia prefer well-drained, loamy-sandy soils. When in bloom this solitary, hemispherical, rose -shaped plant can have a stalk up to 14’ (4m), topped with a paniculate inflorescence that has a thick cluster of yellow-green flowers (1). After the flowers emerge, the plant  dies. Agave ovatifolia reproduces through bulbils and seeds but does not produce offsets (1).  
Compound: Aga ova
Geographic Origin: Mexico
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History:
Agave ovatifolia is native to Lampazo in Nuevo Leon,  the Northwestern mountains in Mexico (6). This species was discovered  and described by  Lynn Lowery in the early two-thousands (6). Lynn brought the agave to Dallas, TX where he discovered that the Agave ovatifolia could withstand -5F when dry. Lynn’s discovery  inspired Arizona botanist Greg Starr to to retrace Lynn’s travels down to Mexico with the intent to propagate the new species. While in Mexico, Greg met the Chief of Police, who had Lynn’s new agave growing on his small ranch in Sierra Lampazo. In 2001, Greg contacted Dr. Jose Angel Villarreal, a botanist from the area of Monterrey- Saltillo to give the undescribed plant a botanical name(8).
Cultivation Notes: Agave ovatifolia tolerate high-light conditions but are prone to root-rot unless grown in well-drainedloamy-sand to sandy-loam soils. Agave ovatifolia only need miniscule amounts of seasonal water to establish and even less water after the establishment period is over  (3). Agaves reproduce from seed in early spring but do not produce offsets (1).
Ethnobotany: Agave ovatifolia  naturally attracts humming birds with its beautiful cluster of yellow-greenish flowers. This species of agave is used as a landscape ornamental . This speciesis an excellent choice in a wide range of landscapes including  coastal, urban, rock, succulent and Mediterranean styles.  They are mainly used as an accent plant but should be positioned away from foot paths to prevent harm to pedestrians.  Although lovely and architectural to look at, they have extremely sharp terminal and marginal spikes that can cut easily through a pair of jeans.  

Height: 0 - 5 feet
Width: 0 - 5 feet
Growth Rate: Slow Growing
Grow Season: Summer
Flower Season: Summer
Color: Green
Function: Accent
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Semi-hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
1. gardenia.net
6. Starr, G. Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscaping and Containers. Timer Press.
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Agave ovatifolia