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  Agave funkiana CACTUS ART

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Agave funkiana

Description: It is a medium sized, suckering, acaulescent,  species from high altitude similar to the common Lechuguilla, but much more attractive with larger and more upright open, radial, rosettes. Grows 60- to 90 cm tall, and 80-120cm wide. Freely offsetting. Clumps will spread to 2,5 mt across.
Leaves: Linear 60-80cm long and 3.5-5.5cm wide, firm, straight, or somewhat falcate, patulous, concave above, convexly thickened below, the base broadly clasping,. They are glossy,deep blue-green with an attractive pale lime green to yellow mid-stripe. Leaf margins are corneous, undulate with small teeth and a prominent, grey terminal spine
that's very sharp. The teeth are about 3-5mm long and 1-2.5cm apart. Red to brownish-grey. Mostly facing downward with a few small irregular intersti­tial teeth. Terminal spine 1-3cm long, conic-subulate, with narrow to open groove above, brown to white; .
Flowers: The upper third of the , glaucous gray, 3.5-4.5m tall flower stem is a laxly flowered raceme of gray-green flowers with prominent bright yellow stamens. The small bracts above apparently caducous; flowers 40-45 mm long, pale glaucous green, on dichotomous pedicels ca. 1 cm long; ovary 20-24 mm long, oblong-fusiform with constricted grooved neck; tube 3.5-4 mm deep, conspicuously grooved and knobby angled; tepals 18-19 mm long, at first spreading to ascending, appressed and clasping filaments after anthesis, linear, mucronate with a small hood; filaments 30-35 mm long, inserted on rim of tube, red or pink; anthers 20 mm long, yellow with pink flush toward tips; pistil red; capsules 2.5-3 x 1.5 cm, strong-walled, transversely wavy-ridged, light pruinose gray, abruptly apiculate; Seeds:  5-6 x 3.5-4.5 mm, thick, shape very variable, wavy-lined on faces, hilar notch large. Self-fertile.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of  plants belonging to the Agave lophanta/lechuguilla complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms whit several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):



Family: Agavaceae

Agave funkiana K.Koch & C.D.Bouché, 1
In: Wochens. Gait. Pflanz. Ver. Beford. Gart. Konig. Preuss. 3: 47, 1860.

Neotype: Gentry 12273, ca. 43 miles S of Jacala, Hidalgo, along rt. 85, in open woods on limestone, alt. ca. 1,600 m, Oct. 12, 1852, live plants, grown at Murrieta, California, flowered May 1962.


Habitat:  This species is native to Mexico (Hildago, Tamaulipas, Chiapas, Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi ) growing at 300-1880 m. But the typical "funkiana" sensu stricto  is restricted to the Jumave valley

Common English Names include: Blue Lechuguilla, Century plant,


  • Agave haynaldii Tod.?
    In: Hort. Bot. Panorm. 1: 88, 1876.
  • Agave lophanta Schiede

Remarks: A. funkiana is a Historically a not clearly derivable name, should probably be placed as a synonym of A. lechuguilla or of A. lophantha. Up to date this species is considered by most just a form of A. lophantha , though the range of forms of these lophantha-type agaves just melt into each other.
This taxon forms together with A. albomarginata, A. difformis, A. lechuguilla and A. lophantha a very variable complex.



A. funkiana La Placita
This species has very ornamental banded and stripped leaves with contrasting reddish teeth.

Good in containers. Agave funkiana is a relatively easy-to-grow species. Need  a very well-drained, soil. It is theoretically hardy to -7° C ,  particularly when dry .  It  grows fairly fast in summer if provided with copious water but allows to dry thoroughly before watering again. During the winter months, one should only water enough to keep the leaves from shrivelling. They do well in full sun or a lightly shaded area. Plants cultivated outdoors are drought tolerant and takes blasting heat and full sun.

Propagation: By suckers  which often are found growing around the base of the plant,  Remove the basal suckers (if available) in spring or summer and let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in compost or by seed.

Traditional uses: The roasted bud and stalk are edible. The juice is used to make tequila. The macerated leaves are used as a form of soap. It has very good fibres which withstand hard wear and are water-resistant, that are used mainly in brush making, but they are occasionally used for textiles (can be spun, or made into rope) Squirrels like the green capsules and the fruit.


Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery Agave

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Encyclopaedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.