Agave stricta forma rubra
Description: It is a small
species, forming large balls of skewer-like leaves and looking like a
very nasty porcupine. This species has the tightest spherical shape of
any agave and will form offshoots to create a colony of rosettes.
Each rosette grows in a slightly different direction and reminds one of
a freeze-frame photo of grasses blowing in the wind or of forests of
anemones moving with the currents.
Stem: Thick branched.
Rosettes: Individual rosettes, with hundreds of thin leaves up to
30 cm in height and width.
Leaves: Narrow, evergreen, yellow-green, green or glaucous blue,
square to roundish in cross-section, toothless on the margin, about 35
cm long; thick at base, then narrowing to end in a very sharp spine.
The forma rubra (red form) has thin red longitudinal lines
on the leaves that give it a red colour that enhances under stress
condition (especially drought, strong sun and cold)
Flowers: The flowers vary from green to reddish brown or purple,
on a dense150-200 cm spike-like raceme. It is one of the few non-monocarpic
Agaves (just like
Blooming season: July to september. May flowers when mature
at 8-10 years.
Scientific name: Agave
In: Bonplandia 7(7): 94 (-95). 1859 forma
Origin: Agave stricta is native to the Tehuacan Valley of
southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca, in Mexico.
Habitat: It is generally found on dry
hills and on flats in the open desert.
Ecology: It is one of the few non-monocarpic
agaves. The initial rosettes,
after the flower stalks finish blooming in
mid-summer, branch and continue to grow, eventually creating a stack of
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common Names include: Needle
Agave, Needle Leaf Agave, Globe Agave, Hedgehog Agave.
- Agave striata var echinoides (Jacobi)
- Agave striata var. stricta (Salm-Dyck) Baker (1877)
A small sized Agave that forms perfectly spherical rosettes up to
30 cm in diameter. The leaves take a characteristic purple-red tinge
especially in time of drought and in winter.
Cultivation: A. stricta is
a versatile and very hardy plant that can be grown in half-shade to
full-sun. It can take moderate to severe freezes,
and is extremely drought tolerant. In winter watering this plant can be
done once every 1-2 months, there is no need to mist the leaves.
Agave stricta is theoretically hardy to -4° C,
particularly when dry - but it is best to
freezing temperatures. Heat Tolerance: Excellent
easy to propagate by
suckers (if available) Remove the basal suckers in spring or
summer, and let the cuttings dry for a few days before inserting in
NOTE: It is very similar to Agave striata, but
tends to have more and somewhat curved leaves, shorter flower tubes and
a generally more symmetrical shape. In addition the leaves
have a rounder section. A mature plant of Agave sticta
looks like a meatball or a balled-up hedgehog. Once you have seen this
plant, you won't confuse it with the similar looking and sounding
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of