Agave parryi

Accession Count: 26
Common Name: artichoke agave
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Family Name: Asparagaceae
Botanical Name: Agave parryi
Botanical Synonyms: Agave parryi var. truncata
Family Synonyms: Agavaceae
Sub Species:
Cultivar: 'Truncata'

Agave parryi 'Truncata' is referred to as the Gentry form or, commonly as the artichoke agave. It is an evergreen perennial succulent with dense rosettes, rounded blue-gray leaves with strongly toothed leaf margins, truncated apexes, and a central spine (1). Leaves on older rosettes are distinguished by red-brown colored teeth (2). Plants are monoecious, and pollinated by bats and moths (3). They will bloom when mature (10-15 years old), from a single central stalk that grows as tall as 5m high, which produces a spike of yellow flowers at the tip (1). The Truncata cultivar Agave parryi can be differentiated from its smaller, broader leaves that truncate at the apexes (4), as well as its characteristic clumping behavior and ability to grow into large masses over time (5). The species is monoecious, and is mainly pollinated by bats and moths (3). As Truncata is monocarpic, the plant flowers once during its lifetime and then dies (5).

Compound: Aga par Tru
Geographic Origin: Mexico
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History:

As a cultivar of Agave parryi, the exact origin of the 'Truncata' Gentry form is unknown, but the plant was first collected by American botanist Howard Scott Gentry in 1951, in an oak-juniper woodland in the Sierra Papanton, Durango (near the Zacatecas border), Mexico (5).
Tissue cultures were generated by the Rancho Soledad Nursery in Rancho Santa
Fe, CA, so that most available truncata Gentry available now in the trade are clones. The Latin variety name “truncata” references the word truncate, which means to maim by cutting off limbs – referring to the propagation method of using stem cuttings (6).

Cultivation Notes:

As the artichoke agave originated in a semi-arid climate, it is tolerant of poor soils, full sun and well suited to growth in our location in the Sonoran desert (7). It tolerates indirect sun, or
even partial shade, but will grow more slowly in lower light conditions. It can be propagated from seeds or stems, but will also produce “pups” from the mother plant that can be removed or transplanted into other parts of the landscape (3).
Water is only needed during the winter, with sparing amounts during the summer months (3), and as such, this plant is often integrated with  xeriscape designs with similarly adapted Sonoran or Chihuahuan native plants. Additionally, the plant will attract birds, including hummingbirds, during flowering seasons (1). When siting this plant, be sure to allow enough room for the long-lived plant to reach full size or its growth will be stunted and the risk of injury to pedestrians from its spines increases (3).


The ethnobotanical uses of the variety are largely unknown. However, the Gentry form may have been used as was the Agave parryi straight species - for food, fiber, and drink. It is also used in modern times as a landscape ornamental accent plant in xeric designs (7).

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

1. Gardenia. Retrieved February 3rd, 2020.
2. Monrovia. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
3. Plants for a Future. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
5. Huntington. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
6. Word Sense. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
7. Plants Database. Retrieved February 3, 2020.

Agave parryi