Agave attenuata is a species of agave in the Asparagaceae family, sometimes known as the "lion's tail," "swan's neck," or "foxtail" for its development of a curved stem, unusual among agaves. Native to the plateau of the State of Jalisco in central Mexico, as one of the unarmed agaves, it is popular as an ornamental plant in gardens in many other places. It is reportedly naturalised in Madeira and Libya.
The stems typically range from 50 to 150 cm in length, and eventually old leaves fall off, leaving them visible. The leaves are ovate-acuminate, 50–70 cm long and 12–16 cm wide, pale in colour, ranging from a light gray to a light yellowish green. There are no teeth, nor terminal spines, although the leaves taper to points that fray with age.
The inflorescence is a dense raceme 2.5 to 3 meters high, with greenish-yellow flowers. Specimens were sent to Kew by the explorer Galeotti in 1834, from an unspecified location in central Mexico. More recent study has reported it from Jalisco east to Mexico, in small colonies at elevations of 1,900 to 2,500 meters, but there have been few sightings, suggesting this agave is rare in the wild.
In cultivation, Agave attenuata is said to prefer relatively moist loamy soil, although it can cope with poor soil and dry conditions. It should be protected from direct sunlight in summer and from long periods of frost. It grows extremely well in Melbourne and is very common in gardens. Flowering specimens are also commonly seen, such as this magnificent specimen in a neighbour's house. After flowering the flower spike will die but suckers from the new plant will form at the bottom of the old plant meaning it will continue to grow in the garden. The plant forms seeds readily so could also be grown readily from seed.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.