Agave Spirits is out Now!

Why Metro Tucson is the American City with the Greatest Agave Diversity



Metro Tucson harbors a minimum of 113 agave species in its streets, parks, gardens, and nurseries, more than half of all the agaves described in the world.

No metro area in the world other than in Tucson (and perhaps in Mexico City’s El Pedrigal at the National Agave Collection of UNAM) can one see as much agave diversity in public spaces.

At least twenty-six of the agave species grown in Metro Tucson were first described by botanists like Howard Scott Gentry, Greg Starr and Robert Webb who lived in Tucson.

Five are native wild species in the Tucson Basin and adjacent mountain ranges, while several others may have been cultivated prehistorically.

AgaveCommon NamesStarr NurseryArid Land Green housesDesert SurvivorsTohono ChulMesquite ValleyCivano NurseryBach CactusB & B CactusGreen ThingsPlants for the Sw
A. abisaii Vázquez García & Nieves Hernández  XX       
A. aktites Gentry  X       
A. albopilosa Cabral, Villarreal & Estrada White Hair Agave        X
A. americana L.American Agave, American Century Plant, Century Plant, Maguey americano X XX  X 
A. angustiarum Trelease X        
A. angustifolia Haw.  X    X  
Aasperrima JacobiMaguey spero, Rough Leaf Agave, Rough Leaf Century Plant X       
A. atrovirens Karw. ex Salm-Dyck X        
A. attenuata Salm-Dyck Swan’s Neck Agave, Dragon Tree Agave, Foxtail Agave    X    
A. aurea Brandegee XX       
A. avellanidens Trelease X        
A. azurea Webb & Starr  X        
A. bovicornuta GentryCow’s Horn AgaveXX  X   X
A. bracteosa Watson ex EngelmannGreen Spider Agave, Candelabrum Agave or Squid AgaveXX  X    
A. cerulata TreleaseBaja Blue AgaveXX       
A. chiapensis Jacobi  X       
Achrysantha PeeblesGolden Flowered Agave   X  X  
A. chrysoglossa Johnston         X
A. colimana Gentry X        
A. colorata GentryMescal Ceniza    X X X
A. convallis Trelease X        
A. cryptica Starr & Davis X        
A. cupreata Trelease & Berger  X       
A. datylio Weber   X       
A. decipiens Baker False Sisal X       
A. deserti Engelmann Desert Agave, Desert Century PlantMaguey de Desierto      X  
A. desmettiana JacobiSmooth Century Plant    X    
A. ellemeetiana Jacobi  X    X  
A. felgeri Gentry MescalitoXX       
A. filifera Salm-Dyck Thread-Edge Agave X  X   X
A. franzosinii Baker       X  
A. garcía-mendozae Galván & Hernández Sandoval XX       
A. geminiflora (Tagl.) Ker-GawlerTwin-Flower Agave X  X X  
A. gigantensis Gentry XX       
A. glomeruliflora (Engelmann) Berger  X       
A. gracilipes TreleaseMaguey de pastizal, Slimfoot Century Plant X       
A. guiengola Gentry  X      X
A. gypsophila Gentry X       X
A. havardiana TreleaseChisos Agave, Havard Agave, Maguey de HavardX  X  X  
A. inaequidens Koch   X       
A. isthmensis García-Mendoza & Palma CruzIsthmus AgaveXX       
A. kavandivi García-Mendoza & Chávez  X       
A. kerchovei Lemaire X        
A. kristenii Vázquez & Cházaro  X       
A. lechuguilla Torrey Lechuguilla X       
A. lophantha ScheideMezortillo, Thorncrest AgaveX X   XXX
A. macroacantha ZuccariniLarge Spine Agave      X  
A. marmorata RoezlMarble Leaf Agave      X  
A. maximiliana Baker  X       
A. mckelveyana GentryMcKelvey’s Century Plant      X  
A. megalodonta García-Mendoza & SandovalShark Tooth AgaveX        
A. microceps (Kimnach) Vázquez & Cházaro  X       
A. mitis MartiusApple Green Agave X X     
A. montana VillarrealMountain AgaveXX X     
A. moranii Gentry  X       
A. multifilifera GentryChahuiqui Century Plan, Shaggy Head AgaveXX    X  
A.murpheyi GibsonHohokam Agave      XXX
A. nickelsiae Gosselin ex Rol.-Goss.King Ferdinand’s Agave, Nickel’s Agave      X  
A. nuusaviorum García-Mendoza XX       
A. obscura Schiede ex Schltdl.   X       
A. ocahui GentryOcahui AgaveXX    X  
A. oteroi Starr & Davis X        
A. ovatifolia Starr & VillarealWhale’s Tongue AgaveX     X X
A. pablocarrilloi Vasquez-García, Muñiz-Castro, & Padilla-Lepe   X       
A. pachycentra Trelease X        
A. palmeri EngelmannLechuguilla, Maguey de Tlalcoyote, Palmer AgaveXXX   X  
A.  parrasana BergerCabbage Head AgaveX     X  
A. parryi EngelmannMezcal Yavapai, Huachuca Agave, Parry Agave      XXX
A. parviflora TorreyMaguey Sbari, Small Flower Agave        X
A. peacockii Croucher  X        
A. pelona GentryBald Agave, Mezcal Pelon X     X X
A. petrophila García-Mendoza & Martínez SalasRock-Loving AgaveX         
A. pintilla González, González &  Reséndiz-Rojas XX     X  
A. polianthiflora GentryPolianthes Red Flower Agave X       X
A. potatorum ZuccariniButterfly Agave, Papalometl X     X?  
A. purpura Trelease  X        
A. pygmae García-MendozaDragon Toes       X  
A. quiotepecensis García-Mendoza XX        
A. rhodacantha Trelease  X        
A. salmiana Otto ex Salm-Dyck Maguey de Pulque, Maguey de Montaña         X
A. schidigera LemaireSplintered Age AgaveX      X  
A. schottii EngelmannAmole, Puercoespín, Shindagger X        
A. sebastiana Greene  X        
A. seemanniana Jacobi  X        
A. shawii EngelmannCoastal Agave, Maguey Primavera, Shaw AgaveXX        
A. shrevei GentryMezcal Ceniza, Lechuguilla X        
A. sobria Brandegee XX     X  
A. striata ZuccariniEspadin, Needle Leaf AgaveXX     X X
A. stricta Salm-DyckSea Urchin AgaveX         
A. stringens Trelease  X        
A. temacapulinensis Vázquez & Cházaro   X     X  
A. tenuifolia Zamudio Ruiz & Sánchez X         
A. tequilana Weber Blue tequila       X  
A. titanota GentryAlabaster White AgaveX        X
A. toumeyana TreleaseToumey AgaveXX       X
A.  valenciana Cházaro & Vázquez X         
A. vazquezgarcía Cházaro & Lomelí  X     X  
A. verschaffeltii Berger  X        
A. victoria-reginae MooreQueen Victoria AgaveXX     X  
A. vilmoriniana BergerOctopus Agave, Turn of the Century Plant        X 
A. vizcainoensis Gentry  X       X
A. weberi Cels ex Poisson Maguey liso, Weber’s Century Plant X     XX 
A. wocomahi GentryWocomahi X        
A. xylonacantha Salm-DyckWoody Spine Agave, Plant, Maguey Diente de TiburónX         

The ten best native plant nurseries in Tucson offer 104 species of agaves and more than 10 hybrid cultivars to grow in Tucson’s yards and gardens.

Tucson’s ten most-visited public spaces like botanical gardens and outdoor museums focus on native plant landscaping and feature 88 agave species for visitors, 16 of which are not currently found in commercial nurseries.

Agave species & scientific authorityCommon NamesArizona-Sonora Desert MuseumMission GardensPrickly ParkTohono Chul GardenDesert Lab at Tumamoc HillTucson Botanical GardenUniversity of Arizona Arboretum
Agave abisaii Vásquez García & Nieves Hernández        
Agave aktites Gentry X   XX 
Agave albopilosa  Cabral, Villarreal & Estrada White Hair AgaveX      
Agave americana L. American Agave, American Century Plant, Century Plant, Maguey americanoX XX X 
Agave angustiarum Trelease        
Agave angustifolia Haw. X XX   
Agave applanata Koch ex JacobiMaguey de Ixtle      X
Agave asperrima JacobiMaguey Spero, Rough Leaf AgaveX    X 
Agave atrovirens Karw. ex Salm-Dyck       
Agave attenuata Salm-Dyck Swan’s Neck Agave, Dragon Tree Agave, Foxtail Agave       
Agave aurea Brandegee X    XX
Agave avellanidens Trelease X     X
Agave azurea Webb & Starr  X   X  
Agave bovicornuta Gentry Cow’s Horn AgaveX    XX
Agave bracteosa  Watson ex EngelmannCandelabrum Agave, Green Spider or Squid AgaveX  X XX
Agave cerulata TreleaseBaja Blue AgaveX  X  X
Agave chiapensis Jacobi        X
Agave chrysantha PeeblesGolden Flower AgaveX  X   
Agave chrysoglossa I.M.Johnston X  XX  
Agave collina Greenman         
Agave colorata Gentry Mescal CenizaX XXX X
Agave convallis Trelease        
Agave cryptica Starr & Davis        
Agave cupreata Trelease & Berger     X  
Agave datylio  Weber  X      
Agave decipiens Baker False Sisal       
Agave delamateri Hodgson &        Slauson     X            
Agave deserti Engelmann Desert Century Plant, Desert Agave, Maguey de DesiertoX  X XX
Agave desmettiana JacobiSmooth Century Plant     X 
Agave durangensis GentryMaguey cenizo     X 
Agave ellemeetiana Jacobi        
Agave felgeri Gentry MescalitoX  XXXX
Agave filifera Salm-Dyck Thread-leaf Agave  X    
Agave fourcroydes Lemaire X      
Agave funkiana  Koch &  Bouché       X 
Agave garcíae-mendozae Galván & Hernández Sandoval       X
Agave geminiflora (Tagl.) Ker GawlerTwin Flower AgaveXX X XX
Agave gentryi  UllrichGentry Agave, Maguey VerdeX XX X 
Agave gigantensis Gentry       X
Agave gomezpompae  Cházaro-Basáñez & Jimeno-Sevilla X      
Agave gracilipes TreleaseMaguey de pastizal, Slimfoot Century Plant       
Agave guadalajarana TreleaseMaguey Chato     X 
Agave guiengola Gentry        
Agave gypsophila Gentry        
Agave havardiana Trelease Chisos Agave, Havard Agave, Maguey de Havard     X 
Agave horrida Lemaire ex Jacobi Wicked AgaveX      
Agave hurteri Trelease        X
Agave inaequidens K.Koch        X
Agave impressa Gentry       X 
Agave isthmensis García-Mendoza & Palma Cruz X     X
Agave kavandivi García-Mendoza & Chávez Rendón        
Agave kerchovei Lemaire        
Agave kristenii  Vázquez García & Cházaro-Basáñez        
Agave lechuguilla Torrey LechuguillaX    XX
Agave lophantha ScheideMezortillo, Thorncrest AgaveX XX X 
Agave macroacantha Zuccarini X X  XX
Agave margaritae BrandegeeMagdalena Island AgaveX      
Agave mapisaga Trelease Maguey pulquero       
Agave marmorata RoezlMarble Leaf Agave       
Agave maximiliana Baker        X
Agave mckelveyana Gentry McKelvey’s Century PlantX  X  X
Agave megalodonta García-Mendoza & SandovalShark Tooth Agave      
Agave microceps (Kimnach) Vázquez García & Cházaro-Basáñez       
Agave mitis Mart      X 
Agave montana Villarreal       X
Agave moranii Gentry  X   X  
Agave multifilifera GentryChahuiqui, Shaggy Head AgaveX     X
Agave murpheyi GibsonHohokam AgaveXXXXXX 
Agave nickelsiae Gosselin ex Roland-GosselinKing Ferdinand’s Agave, Nickel’s AgaveX XX X 
Agave nuusaviorum García-Mendoza        
Agave obscura Schiede ex Schltdl.       X 
Agave ocahui Gentry X X  XX
Agave ornithobroma Gentry     X  
Agave oteroi Starr & Davis X   X  
Agave ovatifolia Starr & Villareal X    X 
Agave pablocarrilloi   Vasquez-Garcia, Muñiz-Castro, & Padilla-Lepe        
Agave pachycentra Trelease        
Agave palmeri EngelmannLechuguilla, Maguey de tlalcoyote, Palmer AgaveX XX X 
Agave parrasana  BergerCabbage Head AgaveX    X 
Agave parryi EngelmannMezcal Yavapai, Huachuca Agave, Parry Agave, Parry’s AgaveX XXXX 
Agave parviflora TorreyMaguey Sbari, Small Flower AgaveX X XX 
Agave pelona GentryMezcal PelonX XXXXX
Agave petrophila García-Mendoza & MartínezRock-Loving Agave      X
Agave phillipsiana  Hodgson X      
Agave pintilla  González González, &  Reséndiz-Rojas        
Agave polianthiflora GentryPolianthes Red Flower AgaveX   X X
Agave potatorum Zuccarini X      
Agave pringlei Engelmann ex Baker     X  
Agave pygmae García-MendozaDragon toes       
Agave quiotepecensis García-Mendoza        
 Agave rhodacantha Trelease        
Agave rzedowskiana Carrillo-  Reyes, Vega, &  Delgadillo        
Agave salmiana Otto ex Salm-Dyck Maguey de Pulque Maguey de MontañaX      
Agave schidigera LemaireSpliter Aged AgaveX    XX
Agave schottii EngelmannAmole, Puercoespín, ShindaggerX XXXXX
Agave sebastiana Greene X   X  
Agave seemanniana Jacobi        
Agave shawii EngelmannCoastal Agave, Maguey PrimaveraX  X XX
Agave shrevei GentryMezcal Ceniza, LechuguillaX  XX  
Agave simplex Webb & StarrSnow AgaveX      
Agave sisalana Perrine Maguey de Sisal, Sisal, Sisal HempX      
Agave sobria Brandegee  X      
Agave striata ZuccariniEspadin, Needle Leaf AgaveX     X
Agave stricta Salm-DyckSea Urchin Agave       
Agave stringens Trelease        
Agave temacapulinensis Vázquez García & Cházaro-Basáñez        
Agave tenuifolia Zamudio Ruiz   & E. Sánchez        
Agave tequilana  Weber Blue tequilaX    X 
Agave titanota GentryAlabaster White AgaveX   XX 
Agave toumeyana TreleaseToumey AgaveX  X X 
Agave underwoodii Trelease        
Agave utahensis EngelmannUtah AgaveX   X  
Agave valenciana Cházaro-Basáñez & Vázquez García       X
Agave vazquezgarciae Cházaro-Basáñez &  Lomelí       X
Agave verdensis Hodgson & Salywon X      
Agave victoriae-reginae  MooreQueen Ferdinand’s AgaveX  X X 
Agave vilmoriniana  BergerOctopus Agave, Turn of the Century PlantX XX   
Agave vizcainoensis Gentry        
Agave weberi J.F.Cels ex  Poisson Maguey liso, Weber’s Century Plant  XX X 
Agave wercklei  Weber ex Wercklé       X
Agave wocomahi Gentry WocomahiX   XX 
Agave xylonacantha Salm-    Dyck Diente de Tiburón, Woody Spine AgaveX    XX
Agave yavapaiensis Hodgson & Salywon X      

If that doesn’t fill you with awe, then have another shot of mezcal and read it again!