Agave americana var. expansa

(Jacobi) Gentry
Agave Fam. Sonora, 80. 1972.
Common names: Spreading century plant
Basionym: Agave expansa Jacobi Abh. Schles. Ges. Vaterl. Cult., Abth. Naturwiss. (Naturwiss.-Med. Abth.) 1868: 151. 1868
Synonyms: Agave abrupta Trelease
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 453. Mentioned on page 443, 454.

Plants short-stemmed; rosettes dense. Leaves erect, 120–150 × 18–24 cm; blade glaucous-gray to green, typically cross-zoned; margins nearly straight to crenate, teeth 5–8 mm; apical spine conical, 2–3 cm. Scape 7–9 m. Inflorescences: lateral branches 20–30. Flowers 7–8.5 cm; perianth tube 13–14 mm; ovary 3.5–4 cm. Capsules not seen. Seeds unknown. 2n = 120.


Phenology: Flowering late spring–early summer.
Habitat: Sandy places in desert scrub and grasslands
Elevation: 500–1300 m

Discussion

The wild expression of Agave americana var. expansa is technically a variant of subsp. americana. A cultivar derived from var. expansa was introduced into western Europe, where it was first named. That cultivar is planted occasionally in the warmer regions of the United States; it is not naturalized. The var. expansa has never been found in fruit, but it is likely that it itself is an early cultivar developed by pre-Columbian people who established it far to the west of the species range in eastern Mexico. Reproduction in var. expansa is strictly vegetative.

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.

James L. Reveal +  and Wendy C. Hodgson +
(Jacobi) Gentry +
Agave expansa +
Spreading century plant +
Ariz. +  and w Mexico. +
500–1300 m +
Sandy places in desert scrub and grasslands +
Flowering late spring–early summer. +
Agave Fam. Sonora, +
Agave abrupta +
Agave americana var. expansa +
Agave americana subsp. americana +
variety +