Agave americana var. expansa (Jacobi) Gentry  
Family: Asparagaceae
century plant,  more...
[Agave expansa ]
Agave americana var. expansa image Copyright (c) Missouri Botanical Garden  
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. Flowering late spring--early summer. Sandy places in desert scrub and grasslands; 500--1300 m; Ariz.; w Mexico. 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.

PLANT: Rosettes to 6 dm long. LEAVES: 12-15 dm long, 18-24 cm wide, abruptly acuminate, straight, guttered, glaucous gray; margins crenate with teeth along the mid-blade on sharply angled bases; teeth 5-8 mm high, 1-4 cm apart; spine conical, 2-3 cm long. INFLORESCENCE: with scape 7-9 m tall, of 20-30 branchlets. FLOWERS 70-85 mm long; tepals 26-32 mm long; filaments 65-70 mm long, inserted 8-9 mm above base of tube, the anthers 28-32 mm long; floral tube 13-14 mm long, 12-20 mm wide. CAPSULES: and seeds unknown. 2n = [119]120. NOTES: See also parent taxon. Open grassland: Santa Cruz Co.; 1200 m (3700 ft); Jul; sw U.S. to Jalisco, Mex. REFERENCES: Hodgson, Wendy. 1999. Agavaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).