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Toxic parts

The plants have a very sharp and tough spine at the tip of each leaf. They need to be carefully sited in the garden.

Edible uses


The heart of the plant is very rich in saccharine matter and can be eaten when baked[1][2][3][4][5]. Sweet and delicious, but rather fibrous[6]. It is partly below ground. Can be dried for future use or soaked in water to produce a flavourful beverage[7].

Seed - ground into a flour[8][9]. Flower stalk - roasted[7]. Root - cooked[7].

Sap from the cut flowering stems is used as a syrup[5]. The sap can also be tapped by boring a hole into the middle of the plant at the base of the flowering stem[6]. It can be fermented into 'Mescal', a very potent alcoholic drink[6].

Unknown part


Material uses

The leaves contain saponins and an extract of them can be used as a soap[1]. It is best obtained by chopping up the leaves and then simmering them in water - do not boil for too long or this will start to break down the saponins[K].

A very strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making rope, coarse fabrics etc[1][3][10]. To make hair brushes and brushes for cleaning, the dried matter of a dead and rotten leaf was knocked free from the fibres, which were then bent in two. the upper end of this brush was wrapped with a cord and the bent portion was covered with a cloth. The loose fibres were cut to the right length and hardened by burning the ends[11]. A paper can also be made from the fibre in the leaves[1]. The thorns on the leaves are used as pins and needles[1].

The dried flowering stems are used as a waterproof thatch[1] and as a razor strop[12].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The sap is antiseptic, diuretic and laxative[13].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - surface sow in a light position, April in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c[14]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse until they are at least 20cm tall. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold for at least their first few winters[K]. Offsets can be potted up at any time they are available. Keep in a warm greenhouse until they are well established[15].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Agave utahensis discreta. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a very well-drained soil and a sunny position[16][15].

Plants are only hardy on the south coast of England, where they succeed from Torbay westwards[16]. A monocarpic species, the plant lives for a number of years without flowering but dies once it does flower. However, it normally produces plenty of suckers during its life and these take about 10 - 15 years in a warm climate, considerably longer in colder ones, before flowering[17]. This plant is widely used by the native people in its wild habitat, it has a wide range of uses.

Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[18].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Agave utahensis discreta. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Agave utahensis discreta.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Agave utahensis discreta
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
4 x 2 meters
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  3. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  5. ? Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  6. ? Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
  7. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  10. ? 10.010.1 Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  14. ? Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 1. Thompson and Morgan. (1987-00-00)
  15. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  17. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  18. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
  19. ? Munz. A California Flora. University of California Press (1959-00-00)

Facts about "Agave utahensis discreta"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyAgavaceae +
Belongs to genusAgave +
Has binomial nameAgave utahensis discreta +
Has common nameCentury Plant +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part +, Leaves +, Root +, Sap +, Seed + and Stem +
Has edible useDrink + and Unknown use +
Has environmental toleranceDrought +
Has fertility typeMoths + and Bats +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has hardiness zone9 +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useBrush +, Fibre +, Needles +, Paper +, Pins +, Soap + and Thatching +
Has mature height4 +
Has mature width2 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAntiseptic +, Diuretic + and Laxative +
Has search nameagave utahensis discreta + and century plant +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameAgave utahensis discreta +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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