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Parry's Agave

Natural History

Agaves are one of the most conspicuous plants of arid regions, with their long, spiked leaves which form symmetrical rosettes. Parry's agave are a large species with gray-green spatula shaped leaves which grow to 20" in length. The plant typically grows on dry, rocky slopes between 4500' - 8000'.

Agaves are also known as century plants, though they typically only live about 25% that long.

As the plant reaches maturity it begins to store large quantities of starch and sugar in the heart tissue. At about 25 years of age the agave uses these carbohydrates to fuel the rapid development of a towering flower stalk, which grows to heights of almost 20'. The plant blooms only once in its lifetime, producing bright yellow flowers and a large quantity of seeds. After this dramatic display, the agave dies. Agaves have been used by Native Americans for a variety of purposes including: food, soap, fiber, beverages and medicine.

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