Agavaceae2017-08-16T18:05:44+00:00

   Agavaceae: Century Plant Family

Chapparal Yucca / Our Lord’s Candle – Hesperoyucca whipplei

Blooms:

Apr–May

Plant Height:

2–40 dm

Flower Size:

Large clusters

 

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Chaparral; dry, rocky slopes

Notes:

Unmistakable. It has a basal rosette of narrow, gray, spine-tipped leaves.  The tall flower spike is covered with a mass of creamy-white flowers.

 

Wavyleaf Soap Plant – Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum

Blooms:

May–Aug

Plant Height:

5–25 dm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry, open hills & plains

Notes:

Easily recognizable by its wavy basal leaves and beautiful white flowers which only open in late afternoon and close by the following morning. The bulb is covered in coarse fibers.  Both bulb and fibers were used by the indigenous people in various ways.

Century Plant – Agave americana

Plant Height:

8–20 dm

Flower Size:

Large clusters

Origin:

Mexico

Habitat:

Various

Notes:

The illustrated specimens were certainly introduced.  There are three species of Agave found in California (Agave deserti, shawii & utahensis), but none grows naturally in Monterey County.  Plants flower only once during their lifetime and then die (although often after producing suckers which develop into new plants).  The name “Century Plant” is something of an exaggeration, 10-30 years is closer to their normal lifespan.