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April 2017 Plant of the Month – Artichoke Agave

april 2017 pom - artichoke agaveThe artichoke agave (Agave parryi truncata) is a tough desert plant native to the American Southwest and Mexico.  With short, blue-gray leaves, the agave grows to a size of approximately 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide.  Artichoke agave, like most other desert natives, require very little water and loose, fast draining soil.

The artichoke agave, like most other agaves, reproduce in two ways.  First, they will create offshoots, or “pups”, from the base of the plant that are genetically identical to the mother plant and will tend to form large colonies.  Additionally, once the plant is fully mature, it will put all its resources into an enormous, 20 ft. tall flower stalk.  After blooming, the mother plant will die.   Any seed produced from the flower stalk will be genetically different from the mother plant.

artichoke agaveArtichoke agave is drought-resistant, requiring very little water, and enjoys full sun, though it can also thrive in partial shade. 

See the artichoke agave at the Engineering Building on West Field Road.  The flower stalk will continue to bloom through the month of April.

Fun Fact:  the artichoke agave gets its name from its resemblance to an artichoke