This magnificent agave has huge, graceful, greenish-gray, curving leaves with a large leaf base. It grows five to six feet tall and spreads to ten feet. The leaves are ten to fifteen inches long with thick, sharp, brownish-gray teeth along the leaf margins and sharp points at the end of each leaf. This agave usually produces a massive rosette of twenty-five to thirty leaves, and there are many forms and varieties of the plant. After fifteen years or more, the plant develops a flower stalk fifteen to twenty-five feet tall or more, with many candelabra-like branches. Its flowers are yellow and tinged with reddish buds, but when the flowers open, they are somewhat inconspicuous. The mother plant dies after flowering and offsets form to grow into a new plant. The agave produces a sweet sap, which when fermented is used to make an alcoholic drink called pulque. Its foliage has been used for livestock feed, and the leaves produce a strong fiber that can be woven into cloth, cord, or netting. Use it in large, open locations as a focal plant or under the light shade of a mesquite or palo verde tree as an accent. Avoid planting it near walkways or pedestrian traffic due to its sharp spines and enormous size. The plant is native to areas of Mexico and is commonly grown along the roadways around Mexico City.
It likes full sun to partial shade and is cold hardy into the mid twenties Fahrenheit or lower. Some forms are more frost-tolerant than others. It is drought-resistant but likes supplemental water during the hottest months of the summer, and requires less water in winter.