Agave generally excel in chaparral climates.

Many species of Agave and Yucca should probably be more popular here than they are. Several are endemic to desert or chaparral climates. Once established locally, they may survive without irrigation. Occasional watering through summer only improves their foliar color and vigor. Except for gophers that might attack from below, not much offends them.

The primary deterrent to their popularity is their dangerous foliar spines. Many species of Agave and Yucca grow too large to not become obtrusive within compact home gardens. Consequently, their striking but hazardous foliage can be difficult to avoid. Fortunately, a few species such as thread agave, Agave filifera, remain proportionate to home gardens.

Thread agave develops rounded foliar rosettes that are less than three feet wide and two feet tall. Evergreen leaves retain silvery impressions of adjacent leaves. Although growth is generally slow, vigorous floral stalks may grow rapidly to ten feet tall during summer, to bloom during autumn. Pups begin to replace original rosettes prior to monocarpic bloom.


7 thoughts on “Thread Agave

    1. Most Yucca have thinner leaves, without nasty teeth on the edges. However, some Yucca have thick leaves. Also, some Agave lack marginal teeth. Some Yucca develop trunks. Agave do not. Agave tend to be more ‘succulent’. Yucca, even those with thick leaves, tend to be more fibrous. Otherwise, the two genera are somewhat similar. Both Yucca and Agave live in both desert and jungle situations. Agaves that live in deserts actually tolerate significant moisture without rotting. Yucca that live in deserts eventually rot from too much moisture. Joshua tree can grow fast for a few years with excessive moisture, but then rot and fall over. That is the sort of tree that one does not want to fall uncontrollably!

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      1. If the specimen was installed into a landscape, it could be any species of Yucca or Agave. Of the species of Agave, only Agave lechuguilla or Agave americana are native to the region. Of the species of Yucca, only arkansana, constricta, pallida, reverchonii, rupicola, torreyi and treculeana are native. Even if so many species of Yucca are difficult to distinguish, the two native species of Agave are rather distinctive, so you can likely eliminate them as potential identities of the unknown Yucca visually.

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